Interview: Lorrie Morgan Enjoys ‘Total Creative Control’ Over New Album
Lorrie Morgan has more than a dozen studio albums to her credit, but with her upcoming new release, Letting Go ... Slow, the singer says that she finally got to make the album that she's wanted to make for her entire career.
"The label [Shanachie Entertainment] gave us total creative control," Morgan tells The Boot. "We weren’t going after songs for radio. It wasn’t like, ‘Radio’s not going to play that;’ it wasn’t about that. It was about what I think my fans are going to buy and what I think they’re going to love to hear. So that was the whole purpose of that. It wasn’t projected to radio."
The 56-year-old admits that her new project, which is set for release on Feb. 12, came about at a time when she thought that her days of making music might be over.
"I was at a place where I didn’t even know if I wanted to do another album," Morgan says. "And then I reached this epiphany, if you will, that I’m not done yet, and I’m ready to go in and record these songs, but I want to do it my way: I want to do it with my producer that I love, which is Richard Landis; I want to go in with him. I want he and I to be creative together, and if I can’t have that, then I don’t want to go in and record just another radio album that will be put on the shelf somewhere."
The 12-track project features a variety of musical styles, from the witty "Jesus and Hairspray" to the emotional "I've Done Enough Dying Today," as well as a jaw-dropping cover of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay."
"It was just songs that I like," Morgan explains. "Some have a different feel, and some don’t. There’s some really good, cool country stuff; there’s some bluesy, there’s some swampy, there’s some '60s. It has no rhyme or reason. It’s just songs I love that fit my life, and I said, ‘This is what I want to do.'"
Letting Go ... Slow also includes the Vern Gosdin song "Is It Raining at Your House," which the seasoned vocalist admits was a challenge.
"It’s hard re-doing a Vern Gosdin song to begin with, but it’s the lyrics. It’s the pain in the song that I love, just everything about the song," Morgan notes. "I think Vern would be proud that I cut it. Vern and I were very good friends, and I miss him to this day.
"I’ve been wanting to do this song for a long time. It just presented itself that this was the time to do the songs that I wanted to do, because we weren’t -- there was no pressure," she adds. "It was a non-pressured album: Go in and be creative. Do what you need to do to express yourself."
Throughout 2016, Morgan will perform several solo concerts, as well as her Grits & Glamour shows with Pam Tillis.
"I love to perform. It’s all I know," she admits. "And there’s times I’d go, ‘You know what? I’m just quitting. I’m done.’ And a day later, I’m going, ‘What time does the bus get here? I’m ready to go!’
"I love it. It’s my life. It makes me happy," Morgan continues. "I get to hang with people that I make music with, people that I laugh with, people that I write with, and it’s enjoyable to me."
The Grand Ole Opry member says that she sees a wide variety of fans in the audiences at her shows, from college-aged young adults to senior citizens, and she tries to please them all.
"I try to do as many hits as I can for the older fans who remember when, and some of the newer fans are like, ‘I never heard of that song.’ I try to mix it up, and I tell a lot of stories. I tell a lot of jokes. Most of the jokes just happen to come; they're not planned jokes. I like when people laugh with me and have fun at the shows," Morgan explains. "We do visit yesteryear, and we do a lot of the newer things, and sometimes we go out on a limb and do something from my Secret Love album, which is things like “Fly Me to the Moon.” I think people like the different styles that we put in, and it’s hardly ever really planned."
As Morgan looks ahead, she has one goal in mind: recognition for the work she put into Letting Go ... Slow.
"I want a Grammy-nominated album," she concedes. "That’s my goal.
"I’m extremely happy with this album, to get out there and promote this album. I can’t wait for the feedback, and I can’t wait to sell it," Morgan adds. "I feel like this is going to be a big year for me, and I’m very happy about that."
More New Country Albums Coming in 2016