Craig Morgan, Greatest Hits

Craig Morgan
Greatest Hits

After several years with Broken Bow, Craig Morgan has moved on to the Sony BMG family.   As he preps his first release for his new label, his former home takes a look back with Greatest Hits, a collection of Morgan’s singles from his three albums with them.

While he hasn’t been a major record-seller or a consistent hitmaker, Morgan has built up a solid body of work over the past five years.   Greatest Hits may surprise casual listeners of country radio, as they will recognize many songs here that they might not have realized were all by one artist.   The biggest hits here include “That’s What I Love About Sunday”, “Redneck Yacht Club” and “Little Bit of Life”, and they represent Morgan’s kind of country perfectly, a winning combination of southern pride and self-deprecating humor.

The songs that weren’t quite as big hits, like “International Harvester” and “I Got You”, are still charming, packed with more personality than most mainstream country acts capture on records these days.   Morgan has a knack for writing songs about women that are sincere but not condescending.   “I Love It” is a perfect example of such a song, and it should be studied by Brad Paisley and Brooks & Dunn, who can’t seem to strike that balance when they write songs along those lines.

Morgan’s collection provides plenty of light romance and good-natured humor, but he also proves he can dig deeper, and the best tracks on the album are as substantial as anything that’s gotten spins at radio this decade.  His breakthrough hit “Almost Home” is a tender portrayal of a vagrant who is angry to have been revived as he was nearing death, as he previewed the paradise that was waiting for him.

It’s a pair of heartbreaking ballads are the high points of the collection, ranking among the best singles released by any artist in the past five years.   “Tough” pays tribute to a wife who is struggling with cancer, and it’s as authentic and real as it is heartfelt.   Even more powerful is “Every Friday Afternoon”, which has a father reeling from the news that his ex-wife is moving her son so far away that he won’t be able to see him on the weekends.   His painful realization that “even if I fight it, someone loses either way” is noble, but doesn’t change the hurt associated with knowing that he’ll miss seeing his son growing up.

Morgan’s career may be on the brink of breaking wide open, with his new label home and recent invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.   If that comes to pass, there’s a good chance this collection will be seen as evidence that he was worthy of big stardom all along.

Be Sociable, Share!

22 Comments

Filed under Album Reviews

22 Responses to Craig Morgan, Greatest Hits

  1. Alright. I can definitely see four stars here. What’s interesting about this collection is that there’s actually only eight singles here; “I Love It,” “I Am,” and “I’m Country” are all album cuts from Morgan’s most recent three efforts. So “Greatest Hits” is sort of a misnomer, but I do like the idea a lot (though in this case that stuff is probably just here to take up three slots). Makes me wish more country artists/labels would pull strong album cuts when putting together collections, because we all know some of the best stuff never gets the spotlight.

    Anyhoo, I’m just really glad they included “Every Friday Afternoon.” Terrific song.

  2. I believe Morgan had only been on Broken Bow since 2002 or 2003. He was on Atlantic back around 1999-2000, until they closed their Nashville division.

    I sort of wish Broken Bow had cut some sort of a deal to include his debut Atlantic single, “Something to Write Home About,” on this collection as well. It didn’t chart very high, but it was the first I ever heard of him.

  3. John,

    I had that same thought. I actually really liked that first album. They could’ve easily included 3 songs from it, providing WB would’ve allowed them to license them.

  4. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Funny enough, I was listening to clips from his self titled album that John refers to and I liked it significantly better than his Broken Bow stuff. I was surprised, because Morgan isn’t really someone I get into very much. I think I’ll grab that first album though. From the second album, the first with Broken Bow, I really like “Every Friday Afternoon” and “Look At Us.” I’ve never really been big on “Tough” or “Almost Home”, but…

    I don’t like his latest song, “Love Remembers”, but maybe he’ll surprise me with other releases.

    I hate to disagree with you, Boss, but I really haven’t noticed that his love songs have been any more intellectual or less condescending than Paisley’s though.

  5. That first album is pretty much the only one of his I ever listen to straight through. He was actually a pretty good new traditionalist back in the day.

  6. Hold on there. I didn’t say he was more intellectual, just more sincere. Less condescending, we can agree to disagree!

  7. TomNo Gravatar

    is everything alright with you, kevin?

  8. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Oops, sorry, I’m not sure where I got more intellectual from now that I look back. I don’t think that Morgan’s love songs are more sincere though either. I will say that I think “Waitin’ On A Woman” is rather condescending”, however. I love Andy Griffith though! Yeah, we can agree to disagree.:) I have cooled toward Brad some these days though. I didn’t love Fifth Gear.

  9. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar

    This would’ve been a 3.5 star effort in my book. I agree with the highpoints that you mentioned. Morgan’s voice/personality haven’t quite found material that’s matched it consistently just yet.

    I think “Waitin’ on a Woman” is great, Leeann. We’ve disagreed again! It’s not as condescending as some consider it, IMO. There’s a little too much ‘grain of truth’ in it, and it does come off pretty sincerely. I will say that 5th Gear isn’t the best of Brad’s releases so far, and some of the jokey material wears thin quickly.

  10. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Blake, I’m a bit torn on “Waitin’ On A Woman.” While I think it’s condescending because it plays on a stereotype about women, I also understand where it’s coming from because it’s something that my grandfather would say in an affectionate way about my grandmother. I don’t like the melody much either though. So, it’s not a song that I really get into as a whole.

  11. Brad Paisley’s first 2 albums are my favorite ones by him though I have liked a few tracks off of his albums. I think 5th Gear is probably his worst album.

  12. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Sorry for starting on Brad Paisley.

    John, we agree once again. I think I would have liked Craig Morgan better if he had stuck to that first album, though I suppose it didn’t do much for his career.

  13. I don’t think “Waiting on a Woman” is particularly condescending. I actually like that song, though I think it was the video that got me.

    I do consider “Little Moments” to be one of the most condescending songs I’ve ever heard, in the same league as “She’s Always Right.” I think “The World” is almost as bad.

  14. Leeann, Atlantic Records closed when Craig was on his 2nd single for the label. He was starting to make inroads with radio. So I think that would’ve worked in the long run. But he did gamble by going to Broken Bow, after all, prior to him, they had hardly any radio success. I’d say Broken Bow owes him a lot of gratitude for signing with them as much as he owes them equally for figuring out how to get him on the radio pretty consistently.

  15. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    I never found “The World” condescending, but I definitely concede “Little Moments.” I’ve never liked that one either.

    Andy Griffith is awesome. Oh, did I already say that?

  16. I should correct that they were starting in on the 3rd single when the label closed.

  17. Leeann WardNo Gravatar

    Matt, I didn’t even remember any of the songs from that first album as singles. I guess he was off my radar until “Almost Home.”

    I will say that I think the thing that saves “Waiting On A Woman” is that sweet twist at the end and I don’t think any malice was meant by it. I’m always late, so maybe it’s my own problem, anyway.:) Bill always has to “wait on” me.

  18. TomNo Gravatar

    in a perfect (country) world most often the fourth album of an artist is a “greatest hits” collection because a recording career got off to a great start, resulting in ten to twelve chart-hits, with, preferably, mostly #1 and top ten hits among them. in such a case, a hits-compiliation is a welcome release.

    however, craig morgan, at this stage of his career, has just not enough to offer to justify the release of a “greatest hits” record. his hits might have been his personal greatest but in a greater picture are hardly more than ok-efforts by a supporting act.

    opry induction and greatest hits album – someone is putting rather big shoes in front of him. let’s hope he’s gonna be able to fill them one day.

  19. Blake BoldtNo Gravatar

    The Greatest Hits collection is an interesting concept in country music. In this case, the Greatest Hits set is being released by Craig’s previous label, Broken Bow, in order to meet his contract and to earn them a few extra dollars before he’s completely departed from the company. A similar thing happened to Trisha Yearwood last fall, where MCA put together her Greatest Hits just weeks before Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love. For the most part, it’s a cash grab.

  20. Blake,

    Greatest Hits albums typically do not fulfil contracts but rather are just cash grabs by the label. In this case, it made sense for them to make this compilation. While offering nothing new, it gives fans a real reason to find his ‘early hits’ if Morgan does, in fact, break big like Chesney did after his first hits package.

  21. If I remember my Music Business classes (it’s getting pretty hazy), the standard contract was usually seven releases including a hits collection (or some other compilation.)

  22. Kevin,

    That’s probably right but Craig had an opt-out clause (which he obviously exercised).