One of the unique side effects of the diversified state of music in the 21st century is that every genre has an audience. Whether a genre is perceived as “old-school” or “throwback” or “niche,” every type of music has an audience out there. Even if certain styles of songs seem to have had their heyday pass, there are still passionate folks out there who will them out, even if they don’t make them anymore.
But they do still make them. Specifically, Lorrie Morgan still makes them. And she makes them really, really well.
Lorrie Morgan is country royalty. As the daughter of 50’s country star George Morgan, Morgan has grown up with the genre, selling more than 6 million records over her career. Her first single came out and charted way back in 1978, but she first cracked the U.S. top country charts in 1984 with “Trainwreck of Emotion.” She followed up with 25 more hit country singles throughout the 90s.
Treading New Waters
Morgan recently released her first new album in five years, Letting Go…Slow. The album is a bit of a curiosity—it’s a mix of original songs and cover versions of standards, which isn’t unheard of. Even Lady Gaga put out an album full of duets with Tony Bennett.
What’s curious about Morgan’s new album is the range of cover songs, some of which you wouldn’t expect in the country genre, or for a country star to do. An unexpected album highlight is her cover of Bob Dylan’s classic “Lay, Lady, Lay,” done as a reggae song with an upbeat, Caribbean flavor, but with the darkness that’s at the heart of the best country music. Must be a reason St. Lucia loves country.
Other covers are tied-and-true country standards. “Ode to Billie Joe,” “Strange,” and “I’ve Done Enough Dying Today” are all country classics. What sets it all apart is Morgan’s voice.
Forged through decades of honing and a life lived, it’s undeniably capable and polished when it needs to be, but it’s also undeniably real. She connects straight to the pain and character at the core of these songs, taking them on as if they were her own, and meaning every word.
Some artists turn covers into karaoke. Not Lorrie Morgan. She steps into these songs, and puts her indelible stamp on them and making them indistinguishable from her own original songs on the album, like the instant country classic “How Does It Feel.”
Country is one of those genres that are always walk the fine line between being dated and timeless. Within that ecosystem, Lorrie Morgan’s total honesty, built and refined through the years, lands firmly on the side of timelessness. The songs on Letting Go…Slow are performed so compellingly that country fans of all ages and tastes will find themselves getting lost in Morgan’s voice.
Check out Lorrie Morgan’s Letting Go…Slow, available on her site.