Craig Morgan's 'Journey' Meant Revisiting Past Hits for New Album

Craig Morgan
Kristin Barlowe

In his decade-plus career, Craig Morgan hasn't covered any other artists on record. However, on his new album "The Journey: Livin' Hits" (Sept. 3), the singer re-imagines quite a few tracks that have been recorded before -- from himself.

Morgan has re-cut six songs that were hits for him during his prior stint on Broken Bow -- something that he said is a rare move for an artist. 

"Most artists don't normally get an opportunity to do that. When they put out a Greatest Hits album, they just utilize the original tracks. Very seldom do you go back in and re-record. Because I'm on a different label, we had to go back in and re-record them."

Morgan stated that it was interesting for him as a singer to re-visit his catalog, and approach his hits from a different place. "If everybody had the opportunity to do that after singing them live for a few years, they will do them a little bit different. Vocally, I get to do what I've been doing out on the road, plus you've been doing them for so long that you're confident in the song, because they are hits. It's different than when you're singing them for the very first time and you're hoping that it's going to be a hit."

When asked about specific cuts that he enjoyed revisiting, he didn't miss a beat. "In 'Redneck Yacht Club,' there's a lot more confidence in my vocal than there was in my vocal when I first recorded it. I think that the majority of the people won't notice a whole lot of difference, but there will be people who will think it feels different," he said.

The collection also contains four new cuts, with the lead single "Wake Up Lovin' You." Morgan feels the single has the potential to be a career song. "I've heard that a bunch," he admits. "I remember when 'Almost Home' came out, and everyone said 'That's the song of your career.' Then, people said that about 'That's What I Love About Sunday,' or 'Redneck Yacht Club.' But, the reason I feel so strongly about this song is that I have been at a certain level in my career for a little while now, and I feel this is a song that will elevate my profile to the next level. I really believe this song and this album will do that."

The singer goes as far to say "If this label, this album, and this song doesn't do it, I'm out of the record making business for record labels. That's how confident I am in this song. I believe in this song so much, and if I can't do it with this song, label, or album, then I don't know if I can do that. I'll still make records, but I'll sell them myself -- and make a whole lot more money."

One song that will no doubt make an impact on Morgan's fan base is the touching "If Not Me." It sounds like one the Army veteran would have penned himself. Instead, it was written by Tom Douglas and Lee Miller. "The hardest thing as an artist – writer is finding songs that are who you are. I'm a writer first, so I feel like I should write everything, but when you find a song that is so perfect that you think you wrote it, you'd be an idiot not to record it. It's one of those songs where every line feels like it was something that I had written. It was a no-brainer to record it."

Morgan, who is gearing up for his annual Craig Morgan Charity Weekend, held September 14 in Dickson County, TN, is celebrating another career milestone in 2013 – five years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. "That is the highlight of my career, and always will be," he says.