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Craig Morgan

That's Why – 2008 (BNA)

Reviewed by Jessica Phillips

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CDs by Craig Morgan

Craig Morgan flies under the radar, both personally and musically. He spent a decade in military service, is married with kids and loves dirt biking. He's an everyday American guy who just sings and writes better than most. Musically, his lyrics about patriotism, family, southern pride, faith, and love are topics so elemental to country music, that he's something of a musical conduit for the common southern man.

Here Morgan teams again with frequent co-writer and producer Phil O'Donnell on his fifth release. His voice (reminiscent of Randy Travis' warm baritone), and his simple but profoundly observant songs, are his bailiwicks, and he puts both front and center on this release. Looking Back has some of the best lyrics in Morgan's catalog ("when we're sitting on our front porch in our Cracker Barrel rockers/when we no longer dye the gray out of our hair...I look forward to looking back with you"), while his first single Love Remembers melds together several vivid images of a love that is gone. The ending becomes an almost-power ballad, and Morgan really lets it rip. That's Why and Sticks are fiddle-laden, banjo-backed odes to everyday southern life.

Ordinary Angels is a dramatic, choir-backed, soul-drenched closing ballad about looking for the "ordinary angels" who are doing good everyday. It sounds a little out of place for Morgan, but his solid voice carries it with ease and conviction. This is another solid effort from Morgan.