Craig Morgan's been a pal ever since I had dinner with him and his lovely wife Karen in Nashville last year after he wowed the crowd at the Grand Ol' Opry (yeah, folks, be jealous: I was backstage there that night and it was a hoot).
I caught up with the country crooner last week as he rehearsed for his anticipated tour with Carrie Underwood, which kicks off in Reading, Pa., on March 11. And fancy this: He also said we could continue to check in with him for a tour update while he's on the road.
UsMagazine.com: Your tour with Carrie Underwood kicks off in two weeks. What have you done to prepare?
Craig Morgan: Pretty much nothing. No, I'm kidding [laughs]. We're changing our set a bunch, adding some stuff, and moved some songs around. I think the band's attire has changed some. Worked on the stage set a bit. So I've been busy!
Us: What can we expect from your show?
CM: When we do a tour like this we try to maintain the same set throughout but I don't always do that [laughs]. We're only playin' for 40-45 minutes, so we're pretty much gonna do all the hits -- that's what fans come to hear -- including my new single "This Ain't Nothin.'."
Us: Have you spoken to Carrie yet about performing a duet together on tour?
CM: No, we haven't talked about it a lot. The day before the tour starts we're gonna meet up and go over the show a little bit. We may do a number -- there may be a surprise or two with the two of us. We'll see!
Us: Is Carrie ready for the tour?
CM: She's excited! I mean, this is her tour -- it's a big deal. We're both Grand Ole Opry members. She was the Opry member inducted prior to me. As she says, she is still the most recent female member [laughs].
Us: So that's good, you guys share that. Will you have an Opry vibe on stage at all?
CM: I don't know, I mean my show's real high energy. A lot of my hits are uptempo songs so we won't be slowing down a whole lot. Some of our ballads were big hits -- "That's What I Love About Sunday," maybe "Tough" -- these are songs that we will include in the show. But we're going to try to keep it face-paced and have fun. The tour isn't about me and my band, it’s about the people that are coming to the show, and those are the people that we want to be satisfied.
Us: By the way, how did you get on this tour? Carrie invited you?
CM: Yeah, well what happened, you know when they started getting ready for the tour, obviously there’s obviously a lot of artists that are recommended to work with and her management and her booking [staff] had seen me somewhere. My name was in the pile and they felt strong about me being a part of it with her. So when they talked to her about it, she said, "Yes" and I got a phone call. I said, "Absolutely, I'd love to work with her."
Us: And what can we expect from her? What have you heard from her side of things?
CM: I know Carrie's team puts a lot into the stage set production. And Carrie's a great singer, she's the real deal. American Idol did a lot for her, but even that show in my opinion didn't do justice to her vocals and her talent. It's gonna be a fun show and a fun tour!