Lorrie Morgan Lets Her Hair Down

“Country music is therapy — it’s therapy for the rural world,” says Lorrie Morgan in a wide-ranging interview in the upcoming issue of the Country Music Hall of Fame’s Journal of Country Music. Recently parted from her record label BNA, the platinum star lets her hair down and gets candid on a variety of subjects. Here’s a bit of what the outspoken Ms. Morgan has to say:

• “It’s bubble gum,” she says about many of the songs on country radio today. “That ain’t what life’s about. Country music is therapy — it’s therapy for the rural world. And it’s gotten so far away from it that nobody knows what’s real anymore. People aren’t what they appear to be in their pictures anymore. That concerns me, that we’re reaching out for perfection, when country music has always been about imperfection.”

• “I’m not willing to sacrifice what I’ve learned and what I’m about just to get played on radio,” she says. “And that’s probably been a big downfall for me, and a big argument with me and my record label through the past few years.”

• “The reality of it was that it was scarier than hell,” she says about her early ’80s tour opening for George ’No Show’ Jones. “Oh man, they threw bottles, tomatoes, apples — anything they could find when we had to announce that [George] wasn’t going to be there. One night they almost tipped the bus over.”

• “The ’ifs’ are the big wonderment of being married to an alcoholic, or involved with anybody with a drug addiction,” she says, reflecting on the alcohol overdose death of her second husband, the country singer Keith Whitley. “If I’d a just done this, if I’d a just done that. You get in your mind that if you would have done something different it would have helped them, when the truth of the matter is they are the only ones who can help themselves, ever.”

• “Man, you talk about a lady who had her knocks with love and life,” she says about her idol, the late Tammy Wynette. “That’s the kind of person I can relate to . . . You knew she went through it. And that’s what my music has always meant to me, to be able to go in and sing a song that Jane next door with five kids is dealin’ with. Because if I’m dealin’ with it, I know she’s gotta be dealin’ with it. I know she does. She’s a woman. And all women go through the same crap.”