#218 – It’s a Tough Business, and No Place for Sissies

She is undeniably one of the most eloquently emotive vocalists of modern times. In the studio with us is award winning recording artist Lorrie Morgan. Lorrie shares with us what it has taken to be successful, the perils and pitfalls that have gone along with it, and the desire she has to keep going.

Morgan also shares with us how she and her late husband, and Country music legend (and recent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee) Keith Whitley met, her time with Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, and her close relationship with Naomi Judd.

Lorrie also explains how she has become the official Ambassador for “Nashville Hot Chicken”, and with the help of some of her famous friends, have created a music video promoting the Nashville staple. 

Lorrie Morgan has been around great songs all her life. She is a Nashville native who is the daughter of Country Music Hall of Fame member George Morgan. She made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage at age 13, singing “Paper Roses.” Her father died suddenly of a heart attack at age 51. She was 16 at the time and just beginning her musical career. Lorrie Morgan began making her own records shortly thereafter and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry at just 24 years old.

Morgan married fellow country singer Keith Whitley in 1986. She was signed to RCA Records in 1987, and her onslaught of hits began the following year. Whitley’s tragic death of an alcohol overdose in 1989 left her a widowed working mother. Their duet “Til a Tear Becomes a Rose” earned her a 1990 CMA award.

Her first three albums, Leave the Light On (1989), Something in Red (1991) and Watch Me (1992), all earned Platinum Record awards. Her Greatest Hits collection (1999) is also Platinum. War Paint (1994), Greater Need (1996) and Shakin’ Things Up (1997) are all Gold Record winners.

She sang “The Sad Cafe” on Common Threads: Songs of the Eagles, which was named the CMA Album of the Year in 1994. Country fans voted Lorrie Morgan their TNN/Music City News Female Vocalist of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Lorrie Morgan, the first woman in her genre to begin her career with three consecutive Platinum albums, is back in the studio with award-winning producer Richard Landis, working on a new album. It is sure to be yet another collection showcasing the rainbow of emotions, from darkest heartache to bright, shiny humor, that is the hallmark of Morgan’s range.

Concurrently, Morgan is working on a second project of original songs co-written with Larry Gatlin.

“Where I am in my life right now, I’m not afraid to express what I feel,” she says. “I’m not afraid to express my views on anything, especially on being a woman and my experiences in this business and in life.”

Morgan is known for her lustrous vocal phrasing and the down-to-earth believability of her torchy performances. On records such as “A Picture of Me Without You” and “I Guess You Had to Be There,” the ache is palpable. She is feisty and sassy on “Watch Me,” “What Part of No” “Five Minutes” and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.” She has kicked up her stiletto heels in fun on her hits “Except for Monday” and “Go Away.” On her epic “Something in Red” she is an honest, struggling everywoman.

She has been a daughter, a bride, a mother, a divorcee, a widow, a single mother, a breadwinner and, ultimately, a survivor. In many ways, Lorrie is a living, breathing country song, and she knows what she sings.

She is a peerless song interpreter, drawing from a deep personal well that spans enormous tenderness to cheeky hutzpah. Whether covering a classic or sharing one of her own songs, Morgan is truly a song stylist in the grandest tradition.

“I have always been a songwriter and I do love to write,” she comments. “But I’m only comfortable co-writing with a few people, and I don’t like appointment writing at all. Plus, I’m not one of those people who says, ‘If I didn’t write it, I’m not going to record it.’ If somebody else’s song is better, I’m going to record it and not my own.

Morgan has recorded in collaboration with her father, as well as Whitley, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Tammy Wynette, The Beach Boys, Dolly Parton, Andy Williams, the New World Philharmonic, and Pam Tillis. She has toured with George Jones and shared a stage with Jerry Lee Lewis, newly inducted into the Country Music Hall Fame along with Whitley.

“My children and I are thrilled to see Keith’s name added to the list of stars who’ve earned their place in the Country Music Hall of Fame,” she says. “It is a well-deserved honor, though Keith himself would’ve been painfully humbled. I am happy for his family and the many, many fans who continue to point to Keith as one of the all-time greats.”

“My dad used to say, ‘You should never take yourself too seriously,’ and I got my sense of humor from my dad. I love to have fun. I’ve reached the age where I feel that I deserve good company around me, people who can make me laugh, who love music and who love to have a good time.”

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