For country artist Craig Morgan, appearing Friday at Coyotes, being a musician means being true to both song and spirit.
Mr. Morgan, an Army veteran, garnered attention in Nashville, Tenn., with his eponymous 2000 release and the 2003 follow-up, I Love It. A country artist in the classic tradition, Mr. Morgan writes most of his songs and plays guitar on all tracks. He said giving the personal touch and drawing from his experiences are important to him.
"As an artist, the one thing we try to do more than anything is identify ourselves," he said in a recent telephone interview. "Some do it with a hat, or particular style. I try to do it with songs. That was difficult in the beginning because I have had such a broad range of experience. I was in the military. I was a police officer. It was difficult to focus on one thing."
It seems that Mr. Morgan's one thing is his sense of patriotism and simple idealism. Like his early hits Paradise and God, Faith and Country, his latest album, My Kind of Livin', is filled with songs that celebrate an idyllic America.
Unlike his earlier hits, however, they approach the subject of God and country in a far more subtle way, celebrating with small snapshots and stories rather than broad polemics.
"That wasn't something we did intentionally," Mr. Morgan said, referring to the new songs. "We just wanted great songs. Fortunately, it turned out the way it did."
Mr. Morgan's straightforward approach to country won him a few famous fans, artists he considers friends and mentors. A regular at the Grand Ole Opry, Mr. Morgan often is joined onstage by country legends John Conlee and George Jones.
"We have to maintain that connection with the past," he said. "But it is absolutely mind-blowing. I mean, I'm good friends with these guys, but there are times I'll walk away feeling a little odd. But it's also great, because you do feel that connection to the past."
Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHO: Craig Morgan
WHERE: Coyotes, 2512 Peach Orchard Road
COST: $25. For more information, call (706) 560-9245.