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Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan – 2000 (Atlantic)

Reviewed by Jon Weisberger

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CDs by Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan was a paratrooper before he pursued a country music career, and "Paradise," the leadoff song on his debut, is based on his thoughts about the military life. Unfortunately, it's marred by a silly opening (drums rolls and marching cadences) that betrays a lack of confidence in the listener's ability to grasp even the simplest things without having her nose rubbed in it. It's an inauspicious beginning, and though there are some strong points - including "Paradise" itself - too much of this newcomer's CD is uninspired and generic-sounding.

Morgan, a Nashville native, has a pleasant, rich baritone voice, and a good feel for a country song. "Hush," written by Morgan, co-producer Buddy Cannon and Bill Anderson, works the same kind of moral territory as "Skip A Rope" and "Harper Valley PTA," and the singer does a good job with it, just as he does with the sprightly "It's Me" and Anderson and Sharon Vaughn's hard country "When A Man Can't Get A Woman Off His Mind."

Unfortunately, those aren't enough to make up for the undistinguished songs that comprise the remainder, like the first single, "Something To Write Home About" or the vapid "302 South Maple Avenue," about a house that becomes a happy home. Musical and lyric clich+s abound on too many cuts here, and too much of the CD has a by-the-numbers feel. That's too bad; Morgan has some real singing talent (the verdict is less clear with respect to his songwriting) that's obscured by a mediocre presentation.