"I've been very fortunate. Fourteen years, and I'm still doing it, and we're still relevant," Craig Morgan says. "And that's really hard to do with so many people coming in this business every day. It's easy to get pushed away."
Having been on the rosters of four different record labels since his debut in 2000, Morgan's tenacity is undeniable. And it has paid off, too. "Wake Up Lovin' You," his latest single for Black River Records, has reached the Top 20 on Billboard's country airplay chart.
Maintaining a place in a business where the revolving door spins so quickly, you're not sure if you're coming or going isn't a challenge many of us would sign up for. However, Morgan is more than ready to face the future.
His latest album, The Journey (Livin' Hits), features of some of his most notable songs like "International Harvester," "Redneck Yacht Club" and my personal favorite, "That's What I Love About Sunday."
As we talk, Morgan is quick to note this isn't his first greatest hits collection. Unlike his previous compilation, the new album was more about chronicling the rewarding journey that led him to become the artist he is today.
That journey includes "Wake Up Lovin' You." He was excited about recording the song written by Trevor Rosen, Matt Ramsey and Josh Osborne.
"It was very natural, and those are hard to find," he told me during his visit to CMT's offices. "It's even harder to find one that's that natural that allows you to grow and still maintain some of the elements that people come to expect.
"People expect certain kind of songs from me. And it's hard to stay there while, at the same time, finding a song that has those elements and allows you to grow."
For Morgan, the next phase of his career is all about growth.
"I knew when I made this record, I was gonna have to do something a little different," he said. "I'm not gonna use the term 'reinvent myself' because I'm the same guy now I was 14 years ago when I first started."
He laughed, adding, "Nothing's changed -- except I grew a beard. I don't wear a cowboy hat, so I had to do something to get some attention."