Craig Morgan jokingly refers to the Myrtle Beach area as “trailer park heaven.”
He calls it that not as a diss to the area, but rather to rib two of his band members, Mike Rogers and Russ Whitman, who both hail from Conway.
“I like to give the band guys a hard time,” said Morgan, a country music star, TV personality and popular veteran of the United States Army who will be performing at The Carolina Opry on March 10.
Morgan’s stop on the Grand Strand comes ahead of the release of several big projects he has scheduled for 2019. He said he has two television programs planned to come out later this year — one starring he, his daughter and his son and the other starring him and other country artists partaking in activities away from the music booth — and a new album set to drop in June.
While Morgan said he’s not allowed to divulge the shows’ names nor the networks they’ll be on, they’ll likely display some of the down-to-earth style of his music, which he describes as “real and relatable.”
“I don’t sing about riding around on a tour bus and living the high life and all that stuff — because as much as I might do those things sometimes it’s not who I am all the time,” he said, adding that specific details about the new album are also embargoed. “In fact, it’s seldom who I am — even when we’re doing it.
“I’m a guy who still takes my trash out. I still do the stuff around my farm, a lot of it myself. I’m the guy next door and I sing about those very things — the things that people can relate to, things that people hopefully will strike an emotional chord within them and, again, attempt to motivate them to want to be better.”
Morgan is also well-known for his military service. His father was a musician and Morgan said that he essentially joined the Army to get away from that scene. Morgan served 17 years — 10 1/2 of those in active duty — primarily as a forward observer.
“I’d be out there with the infantry and if the infantry needed big guns shot to help suppress enemy fire and I was the guy who did all that coordination,” he said.
Morgan served in the 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions.
“It was awesome,” he said of his military experience. “There’s nothing like going and feeling like you’re doing something good for your country and giving bad guys the opportunity to die for theirs.”
Once he was done with active duty, Morgan shifted his focus to music, a move many of his fellow servicemen suggested.
“I think some of the guys actually had more confidence in my ability than I did,” said Morgan, a member of the Grand Ole Opry. “I had friends that convinced me to do it. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t have done it.”
Morgan has spent much of his post-military life on charitable causes for service men and women. He regularly does United Service Organization (USO) tours and has worked with military charities such as Operation Finally Home, Special Operations Warrior Foundation and Folds of Honor. He’s also garnered many honors for his charitable work, including the Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Medal in 2018.
“Having been there myself I know the sacrifices that these men and women and their families make,” Morgan said. “So it’s important that they know and understand that the nation is grateful for their services.”
Morgan, who is from Nashville, Tennessee, was among the stars who performed in the 2018 Carolina Country Music Fest in Myrtle Beach and has had 25 songs make the Billboard charts.
Aside from the connections via Rogers and Whitman, Morgan said he wouldn’t be surprised if he runs into other old friends who work at The Carolina Opry these days. And with hits such as “This Ole Boy,” “Almost Home” and “Redneck Yacht Club,” Morgan seems a perfect fit for trailer park heaven.
“It’ll be neat to see some of our guys and, again, be there where a bunch of the guys’ families are,” Morgan said. “And we feel like we’re connected there somehow.”