“I'm an American country boy who loves his country, his family and his God, and all of those things collectively dictate who I am.”
Over the years, Craig Morgan has come to think of his career like a house, hand built over time and resting on a firm foundation. Faithful Christian. Dedicated family man. Distinguished veteran of the US Army. Those are the pillars that have allowed the chart-topping singer, songwriter and live performer to add room after room to his house now more like a sprawling mansion. But with God, Family, Country, his 2020 album for Broken Bow Records, the Nashville native admits it felt like he was putting on the final touches.
Marking his ninth studio set, God, Family, Country combined five new songs with some of the most powerful tracks of his career, including hits “That's What I Love About Sunday,” “Almost Home,” and more. It was an album of contrast, both created in the moment and capturing a bigger picture, with Craig stepping back to consider the “what” and “why” of his creation. But in becoming “one of the most special records I've ever done,” it was ultimately far more than a craftsman checking his work. It inspired a whole new addition
Now, the hitmaker behind “Redneck Yacht Club,” “International Harvester” and “Little Bit of Life” has expanded his God, Family, Country chapter, adding a new Deluxe Edition to the album, a gripping, best-selling memoir and more. The blueprints are back on the table and this time they include more personal touches than ever.
“I feel so good,” Craig says. “Career wise, family wise, my heart, my soul, my spirit, my faith, all those things are good unbelievable, really. Every time I think I'm about ready to start slowing down, God throws a wrench in it and it gets me right back in the middle.”
Call it a renaissance if you want, but Craig today continues to evolve from the guy who released country-radio classics like the four-week chart-topper, "That's What I Love About Sunday” Billboard’s Number One country single of 2005. He still has an unquenchable spirit and joy for life, but he and his family have also known great loss with the passing of their son Jerry in 2016. Instead of snuffing out Craig's artistry, however, that unimaginable tragedy led to him writing his most personal and emotional song to date, "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost," released in 2019.
The aching ballad topped the iTunes all-genre sales chart and led directly to this new career chapter, becoming the centerpiece of God, Family, Country and the inspiration to go further. Released on Veteran’s Day (November 11), God, Family, Country (Deluxe Edition) adds four new songs to what was already a deeply personal project, three of which he wrote.
“Ask Him” arrives as a head-over-heels romantic stunner with long-lasting devotion. “I May Drink a Little,” finds a man of faith maintaining his beliefs, even though he’s not perfect. And “Sounds Like Home,” features a sentimental front-porch sway that could be the soundtrack to a picturesque country sunset.
Mixing old-school grit with a modern country pulse, it’s a tune for the times, which resonated with the star right away.
“It’s a societal story,” Craig says. “It’s what’s going on in our world. This song talks about how ‘you run, you crawl, you rise, you fall, you hit your knees until you learn to stand. That’s how you make a man.’ This is how we each become better as humans.”
It's also 100-percent country, and the guiding principle Craig has followed like a North Star his whole career. God, Family, Country (Deluxe Edition) just puts it all in one place.
"This album is based on everything that's happened in my life and my career," he says. "I feel like I have some of the most quality songs I've ever recorded, and there is a new energy here. After all I've been through, I'm at one of the most inspired places I've ever been."
That inspiration isn’t limited to music, though, as Craig also shared his full story for the first time. Co-authored with New York Times bestseller Jim DeFelice (who also co-wrote Chris Kyle’s American Sniper), Craig’s memoir GOD, FAMILY, COUNTRY: Soldier, Singer, Husband, DadThere’s a Whole Lot More to Me reveals not only the roots of his country career and serve as a testament to his familial dedication, but also much of the behind-the-scenes action fans never saw.
A thrilling ride from the start, Craig opens up about his time as an elite military operator, teaming with the CIA and more to parachute into the Central American jungle, bust up human trafficking rings in Thailand, and even run a cover operation in Iraq at the height of his career.
“The thing is, I've talked about little snippets of these stories throughout my life,” he says. “Some on the radio, in interviews and different things. But I have never put everything together, and it wasn't until then that I went, ‘Holy crap. I have done a lot.’”
Meanwhile, the inspiration has also taken him to TV. In the CBS/Paramount + adventure reality series Beyond The Edge, Craig returned to the Panamanian jungles to put the survival skills he learned in the Army to further use the same ones he taught pilots training for a potential crash, and now offers clients through his Alaskan Off the Grid Experience.
It’s true, that house Craig’s been building has now grown in ways he never expected, but the foundation is still the same and with his God, Family, Country headlining tour, folks could say that foundation is as strong as ever.
Wrapping in Nashville on Veterans Day with his first ever headlining show at the Ryman Auditorium his hometown's fabled “Mother Church of Country Music” the Grand Ole Opry member still shines in front of an audience. He calls the sold-out show a mountaintop moment, perhaps the pinnacle of his long career and life story so far, that is.
“Proud isn’t the right word as much as grateful,” he says. “I just want to inspire and motivate people to try to do good and be better for themselves and everyone else involved.”