Country Star; Lorrie Morgan

Country star, Lorrie Morgan, is entering her 40th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry Member this June, 2024, with a special celebration at the Opry on June 8th. The latest album for this multi-platinum artist, Dead Girl Walking, releases this spring as she embarks on her Ruby Anniversary Tour.

I asked Lori about her 40th anniversary performing, and she reminded me; “Well, the performing part has actually been about a decade longer! Wow, does that make me old,” she quipped.

Regarding the Opry, her dad [Grand Ole Opry star, George Morgan] got her onstage when she was a young teen. “I was hooked,” she recalled. “I kept pestering Hal Durham [GM of the Opry] to make me a member.” And he did. “I was one of the only members who hadn’t yet had a hit record,” Lorrie said. But that didn’t take long. She signed to RCA Records in 1988 and released her first single for that label, “Trainwreck of Emotion”, the same year. The song reached number 20 on the Hot Country Songs chart and served as the lead single to her debut album, Leave the Light On. Following this were, “Dear Me” and “Out of Your Shoes.” These both went top ten on Hot Country Songs, with the latter also reaching the number-one position on the Radio & Records country charts in December 1989.

“I grew up at the Opry. It felt like home, and I always feel close to my dad there. When I was invited to become a member in 1984, I was elated. I asked Bill Anderson to induct me because he had always been so sweet and supportive. I love him to this day. On the night I was inducted, I sang, “Candy Kisses” in tribute to my dad, and “Stand By Your Man.” Tammy Wynette was also an idol of mine.”

“I’ve had some amazing opportunities. So many incredible artists are among my friends, collaborators, co-writers, and more. Outside of country, I’ve recorded with Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, and was invited to record an Eagles song on a tribute album. I just love great songs, and singing is who I am, and when I get to work with others who feel the same, it just doesn’t get any better.” She said.

When I asked Lorri about the evolution of her music over the years, she had this to say; “I’m not sure I think of it so much as an evolution as I think of each recorded project as just another part of the journey. When I was a young artist, I didn’t have as much control or choice over songs. There are some I may not have recorded, others perhaps I should have, and a few that I did record, like, “Something In Red,” were excellent choices by those who knew better. I love that song, and I’m so grateful for it, but I didn’t want to record it at first; didn’t even want to hear the whole thing because I thought it was just another lost love story. However, the lyrics are so brilliant, covering the journey of a love story in such a sweet way. Angela Kaset crafted a wonderful song in that one, and that’s what it is always about for me; finding songs that fit my style and my perspective. I am a writer, but I don’t insist on only recording my own songs or co-writes. If a song is great, it is great. Period. And I want to sing it. The new album, Dead Girl Walking, was recorded with my old friend Richard Landis, and I’m so sad that we lost him last year before its completion. I believe it’s the final producing credit of his brilliant career. I played a very active role in selecting songs that mean something to me at this time of my life.”

Lorrie also recently launched a new Podcast, War Paint with Lorrie Morgan, and it has been picked up for broadcast TV, launching June 2024 on Heartland Network. “I love to dish with family and friends and to share real personalities and ideas with fans, but that really comes second to the personal conversations. So far, we’ve had Pam Tillis, Vince Gill, Jimmy Fortune, Larry Gatlin, Jerry Salley, Jeannie Seely, and Nancy Jones, just to name a few. We just sit down and chat about whatever comes to mind; life, career, family, relationships. Funny stories and memories pop up. It’s just a good, intimate time. I’m so excited to see it begin airing on the Heartland Network this year. So, it’ll be out there as an audio podcast and also on TV. It’s so different from traveling or running into people on the road. This is a personal conversation with every guest. I’m hoping to have some guests from outside of music, too. There are a couple of women I really admire who I hope to sit down with, like Connie Elder, the founder of Peak 10 Skin. She’s a savvy entrepreneur and product developer. She’s a domestic abuse survivor who bravely moved on with a very public career. Another remarkable woman is Renee Landers, who became a body builder in her 60’s after suffering a back injury. I love these stories of triumph as much as I love just chatting with industry friends. I hope everyone enjoys being a fly on the wall.”

Lorrie had this to say about her view on country music industry is today; “I’ll always love traditional country, and I love the new traditionalists. Everything changes, ebbs, flows. I’ve sure seen a lot of those changes over time. I truly just believe in the music. Trends or the latest hot stories will come and go, but truly great music lasts. It becomes a part of you, part of your memory. It underscores important times in our lives. The lines have become blurred and in some ways, I think that’s a good thing. Years ago, you could turn on AM radio and hear Elvis followed by George Jones and then Frank Sinatra or Dusty Springfield. It was later when radio became segmented by format or genre. Now, you might turn on an XM station and hear an outlaw country song followed by bluegrass by someone like Molly Tuttle or Billy Strings, and then a more contemporary singer/songwriter song. I love how the term Americana has really come to be a concept that embraces quality music and artists, regardless of format. Americana is rooted in what is American, whether its blues, jazz, country, pop, etc.

I just hope that the evolution, wherever it goes, always values the quality of the creative process; real songwriters, great songs, great musicians, moving melodies and lyrics; no matter the label or genre or format. People will always find that quality. We need the business of music to stay focused on that goal, too. I hope fans will always seek out and support live music. Those little clubs all over America are the lifeblood for touring artists.