While country music’s radio stars have typically found that hit singles equaled album sales, Craig Morgan is one example of a growing number of country stars who haven’t found fans as receptive to their albums as much as their singles. Earlier this year, Morgan opted out of his contract with Broken Bow records and signed with Sony Music’s BNA Records. So it’s a little ironic then, that Broken Bow’s “Greatest Hits” release actually works as a perfect way for fans of Craig’s radio hits to get all of his hits plus three choice album cuts from his three previous Broken Bow Records releases, “I Love It,” “My Kind of Livin’” and “Little Bit of Life.”
It’s appropriate that “Greatest Hits” leads off with his break-out hit, Almost Home.” A touching story song about a homeless man who is content with his place in life and the conflict Craig’s narrator has in just letting the man be. Completely non-traditional in narrative and length (it was nearly 5 minutes long), this one just proves the old adage that the cream will eventually rise to the top (even if it sometimes seems like it never will). 2005 was a big year for Craig Morgan. Not only did his song “That’s What I Love About Sunday” top the charts but his follow-up single “Redneck Yacht Club” did as well. Those two songs gave Morgan his only Gold album and by the end of the year, Sunday was 2005’s most played country song.
All 3 singles from the follow-up album “Little Bit of Life” charted near the Top 10 with the title track placing inside the Top 10. If the three tracks, which include “International Harvester” and “Tough,” I was particularly drawn to the latter one the most due to Morgan’s emotional delivery and the fact that it truly was one of the best-written songs of 2007. These songs, while not selling “Little Bit of Life” the way Morgan or Broken Bow expected, still kept Morgan as a radio star with break-out potential, something that the three extra album cuts show as well. “I’m Country” is a nicely-written song that, while full of country clichés, comes off as earnest and true while “I Love It” is a cute little love song and “I Am” is a nice song of devotion.
One of the songs that I’ve been particularly fond of from Morgan’s career is the divorced parent track “Every Friday Afternoon.” It finds the narrator pained about losing the ability to see his children more after his ex-wife decides to take a job in Boston, thus putting him in the terrible position of not being able to see his son. It’s a brutally real song that runs through true emotions. This song might even be Morgan’s finest moment thus far in his career. There’s really nothing not to like about Craig Morgan’s “Greatest Hits” album except that it doesn’t include the one other hit single from Morgan’s career, “Look at Us,” a Top 30 track from the “I Love It” album. So, in the end, if there’s one album to get that sums up Craig Morgan’s early hit-making career, “Greatest Hits” is the one to get.