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Craig Morgan - Little Bit Of Life  
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
Photos: Kristin Barlowe

Craig Morgan's journey to country music success is like many of his songs. There's something rich and meaningful with a bold tapestry in the telling.  For Morgan, a father of five, it's been a slow, but progressive, build to fan and chart successes. Hits like last year's "Redneck Yacht Club" and the chart busting "That's What I Love About Sunday", a track which carried the Billboard tag as the most played country song of 2005, helped. But for this singer songwriter, his talent comes from observation and participation. Both of the needed ingredients supplied in plentiful doses from his earlier work as a deputy sheriff, an active Army member, and, for overall development, a Walmart clerk.

Those worldly experiences and his ready sentimentality translate on his fourth album, Little Bit of Life, and in particular in the carefree honesty of the title's lyrics:

A little bit of guitar; a little bit of truck. 
A little bit of hound-dog an' a little bit of luck. 
A little bit of bacon, a little bit of beans;  
A little bit of you lovin' up on me. 
A little bit of how it's s'posed to be:  
A little bit of life.

But while this former Nashville demo singer can nail it with tracks like the title cut, it's when you delve into the album you hear and strike the mother lode. Pairing with Alan Jackson producer Keith Stegall, and long-term friend and co-producer Phil O'Donnell, Morgan has delivered a polished and worthy effort. With 11 tracks (the title cut has already charted) the album is one of this year’s most waited-on releases. And the fans can rest easy. It's a knockout.

Tunes that worked for me include “Tough”, “The Ballad of Mr. Jenkins” and “Look at ‘Em Fly”. Listen out also for the rural rocker, “International Harvester” and the tune with the song title that paints the scene, “I Guess You Had to Be There”.

I’m still lost, though, to understand when a new album is about to break, and there is a need for publicity, why do labels, promotional publicists and the like fail to see reviewers receive a lyric sheet, the names of players on the album, and who wrote what? It’s a rant for another time, but it’s information I’m sure fans would like to know. Given the great tunes at play here, some added info would have helped.

Still…

That aside, some of the mentioned tracks are standouts. “Tough” is a telling piece. It’s seen through the eyes of a man who daily watches his partner run the errands, pick up and drop off the kids, bank, gym, and run the household, all the while confronting the tragedy symbolized by a wig and a pink ribbon; and as our hero tells, “I thought I was tough”. It’s a sensitive tune, and handled so well by Morgan’s rich and emotive timbre. It should make us all stop and think… and honor the women who selflessly make our lives complete.

The guy with the cold and silent manner, the loner, the guy who fingers his bourbon glass in the barroom corner shows up on “The Ballad of Mr. Jenkins”. Again, Morgan’s emotional phrasing and lyrical insight takes us beyond the melody. The tune charts the life of a man who saw Vietnam and lost a childhood mate in battle, only to be shunned on his return from active duty. He’s a man who loved his wife in the truest sense and a man who, at her passing, lost his best friend. It’s a crafted song. It asks us to look beyond the obvious; it asks us to look into a weathered face and, on some level, look beyond what a passing glance can offer. The message: don’t judge a book by its cover…at least read a couple of chapters. We all have a story. It’s a thoughtful and inspiring guide to better human relations.

The quirky “Look at Em Fly” rounds out the album. Morgan ponders the eternal complexities of life when, sitting in his rocker, a red lady bug lands on him. Being of the sensitive new age persuasion, he lets the bug fly high and free. This all ties in, and I know you’re intrigued, with the karma-soaked chorus: “It’s amazing what you see when you stop and look at things”. Maybe the broader message is that live and let live makes for contentment. It’s a distinct possibility. It’s a little bit of life.

Morgan’s album, out on Broken Bow Records, hits the shelves October 31, 2006.


Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1: Little Bit Of Life
2: International Harvester
3: Tough
4: I Am
5: The Ballad Of Mr.Jenkins
6: Nothin’ Goin’ On Wrong Around Here
7: Sweet Old Fashioned Goodness
8: I Guess You Had To Be There
9: The Song
10: My Kind Of Woman
11: Look At ‘Em Fly 

Related Links:
Official Website 
MySpace  

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Real People Reviews

Hey Craig, you are doing great! I love you new cd Little Bit Of Life it is cool and good job! 
~ Jenny D.

 

Little Bit of Life is a whole lot of awesome! Every song is amazing. A+++++++!! By far one of the best CDs I have in my entire collection! My favorite songs are Little Bit of Life, International Harvester, Tough, I Am, I Guess You Had to be There, and My Kind of Woman. 
~ Marsha

 

I LOVED the Album A+++++++++. It is AWESOME!!! My favorite songs are: International Harvester, Little Bit Of Life, I Am, and Tough
~ Daniel

 

I'm a huge Craig Morgan fan and I definitely think "Little Bit of Life" is some of his best work yet, and coming from me, that's 
really saying something. Love it! A+, home-run, 2 thumbs up. Favorite songs: I Am, Ballad of Mr. Jenkins, Little bit of Life, International Harvester. 
~ Randy

 

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