Celebrity Hunter - Craig Morgan
Craig Morgan never stops moving. As a dedicated family man, conservationist, farmer and touring country music star, it’s amazing the man finds time to hunt. But that’s how I first met Morgan—decked out in camo in a South Florida turkey hunting camp. He was humble and all smiles, but dead serious about knocking down gobblers and gators. Despite the hopes of me and other hunters in camp, he never busted out his guitar. A few years later, I was finally able to witness the musician side of Morgan during an emotional performance at a Folds of Honor event. Recently, on the cusp of releasing a new album, Morgan and I caught up to see what’s going on in his full-throttle life.
HI: You’re on the road right now, playing concert dates for your brand new album and single. This is an exciting time! Let’s hear about the journey you’ve been on with this fresh release.
Morgan: I’ve got a renewed energy with this record. It’s called A Whole Lot More To Me. As a country singer, we sometimes get stereotyped as nothing but trucks and tailgates, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to us. I want people to hear this record and go, ‘Wow, there is a whole lot more to these country folks.’”
HI: I had a chance to listen to “I’ll Be Home Soon.” It’s a beautiful track and a well-chosen radio single. What are some of the other standout songs on the album?
Morgan: I’m just back from a USO Tour and “I’ll Be Home Soon” really connected with all the troops we visited across the world. I think all of these songs will really resonate with people in one way or another. “Country Side of Heaven” is a favorite of mine. It has a very charismatic, inspirational vibe about it — but not preachy. The energy feels spiritual by the time you get to the end and there’s an emotional attachment within you that makes you want to hear it again and again.
HI: How’s life as a touring musician?
Morgan: It’s not all fun and games. It’s a job and a business, and you’ve got to look at it that way. Now, it’s a fun job, but it’s work. I’m on the road 260-280 days a year. I try to only do 80-100 touring shows in a year.
HI: Only 80-100 shows? Man, not everyone could pull that off. What do you do when you’re home?
Morgan: Work! Just like anybody else, there’s work to do around the house. I turn my own dirt and manage my own food plots—nobody does that for me. Of course, when I’m home I spend as much time with my family as possible.
HI: The title of the album is certainly fitting. There’s a lot to Craig Morgan—probably more than the average fan realizes. How about that hunting side?
Morgan: Hunting is a major part of who I am. My parents were avid outdoorsmen, so I started hunting as a very young kid. When I’m not doing music, I’m spending time with my family or doing something related to hunting.
HI: You’ve been doing a hunting TV show for a number of years, correct?
Morgan: Oh yeah! This summer we’ll kick off the seventh season of “Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors” on the Outdoor Channel. We have a lot of fun with that.
HI: With your schedule, I’d have to assume you don’t have a lot of time for personal hunts. Are you cool with hunting in front of a camera all the time?
Morgan: That’s right, it’s rare that I hunt without a camera. It doesn’t bother me at all; to me, it just means being out there with a buddy [cameraman]. It’s a little tougher sometimes because you’re doubling or tripling your impact on the environment—like with turkey hunting, now you’ve got that many more bodies in the field for birds to pick off.
HI: I met you in a turkey camp several years ago, and you just mentioned turkeys again. Is it safe to assume turkeys are your favorite?
Morgan: It’s tough to choose a favorite species, but I love hunting turkeys. I’ve killed a ton of gobblers over the years. It doesn’t ever get old.
HI: What other kinds of hunts have you done?
Morgan: I’ve been fortunate to hunt all over the place. I just got back from a tahr hunt in New Zealand. We didn’t take a helicopter in; we drove in with a truck as far as it would take us, and then we hoofed it. It was a tough hunt. I’d have to say Alaska is my favorite state to hunt in the whole U.S. —and actually, I just purchased some land up there to hunt.
HI: Are you involved with any outdoor organizations?
Morgan: I’m a board member for the National Wild Turkey Federation. I do a lot of work with Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and I’m heavily involved with the NRA. I truly believe our Second Amendment rights are in jeopardy under this current administration, so it’s critical to support the NRA.
HI: You’ve served in our armed forces. Thank you. Tell me a bit about that.
Morgan: I spent 17 years in the military, including 10 and a half years on active duty in the Army. Those experiences have forever shaped my life.
HI: I was there when you first played “What Matters Most” in a crowded conference room for Folds of Honor. Explain this program to HI readers.
Morgan: Folds of Honor is a great program. They provide scholarships and financial support to children and spouses of fallen or wounded soldiers. You can donate at FoldsOfHonor.org.
Editor’s Note: Visit CraigMorgan.com to learn more about Craig Morgan, discover tour dates to see him in concert, get air times for his TV show, and find links to purchase his music.