NEWBERRY — Local country music fans are in for a treat as legendary country diva Lorrie Morgan will return to the Newberry Opera House for a special acoustic performance on Saturday, March 2.
From the time Loretta Lynn “Lorrie” Morgan was a little girl, she was in love with country music and the Grand Ole Opry. Much of her love for the iconic venue could be attributed to the fact that she spent much of her childhood there, watching her father — country crooner George Morgan — perform.
“That was my dream,” Morgan said. “I was there every Friday and Saturday night with my dad, and I loved every part of it. I absolutely love the Grand Ole Opry.”
Morgan said she loved the Grand Ole Opry at the old Ryman Auditorium as well as at the Grand Ole Opry House venue after the move in 1974. She first performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage at age 13, singing “Paper Roses.” Her father sang the last song of the last Grand Ole Opry show performed at the Ryman Auditorium in 1974.
Ten years later, she became the youngest singer to receive the honor of becoming a lifetime member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 24.
Although her first and middle names are the same as another iconic country vocalist, Morgan said it was totally coincidental.
“I was born before Loretta Lynn came to Nashville, even though she calls me her namesake,” Morgan said. “They started calling me ‘Lorrie’ when I was a little girl.”
Morgan charted her first single in 1978, and she broke into the top of the U.S. country charts with her 1989 single, “Trainwreck of Emotion.”
That title rang true as turbulence in Morgan’s personal life has been well documented through interviews conducted by the likes of Larry King, Barbara Walters and Ralph Emery, as well as in Morgan’s 1997 autobiography, “Forever Yours, Faithfully: My Love Story.”
“I have been a daughter, a bride, a mother, a divorcee, a widow, a single mother, a grandmother, a breadwinner, and ultimately, a survivor,” Morgan said. “It seems, in many ways, that I am a living, breathing country song and I know what I sing. My music and songwriting has a healing power for me personally, and these days, that’s what I aspire to be — a compelling and captivating music poet.”
Her aspirations have most certainly come to fruition as Morgan has written and recorded more than 15 of her own songs over the course of her career. She has charted more than 25 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts, with three No. 1 hits — “Five Minutes,” “What Part of No,” and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength.” Morgan’s career milestones include 14 top-ten hits, 12 albums, seven of which have gone gold and platinum, and four Female Vocalist of the Year awards.
Morgan pointed out that her career is not an easy one, considering a hectic schedule which includes early mornings, late nights, travel, less-than-flattering reviews and loneliness on the road.
“This business is not for the weak,” she said. “You’ve got to be a road warrior, and you take a lot of knocks.”
What makes the grueling work worthwhile for Morgan, however, is the part of her career that audiences get to see — the performance.
“That’s what I’m there for,” Morgan said. “I feel like I don’t get paid to sing; I get paid for all the stuff in between. When I go out on stage, that’s why I’m there. That’s my gratification.”
Morgan often performs with a fellow second-generation Grand Ole Opry star, Pam Tillis, as part of a tour known as “Grits & Glamour.” Morgan said she and Tillis have realized just how much they have in common in the past couple years.
“We went to lunch on the road, started talking and realized we had the same guilt,” Morgan said. “We are both moms out there working and being the major bread winner. Just being a woman in this business is tough.”
Morgan and Tillis have recorded an album together called “Dos Divas,” which is due out within the month. The album includes six duets and four singles from both Morgan and Tillis. Morgan said a couple of her favorites on the album are the title track “Dos Divas,” which she and Tillis wrote together, and “I’m Tired,” which was written by Tillis’ father, Mel Tillis. That particular song is special to both Tillis and Morgan, as their fathers performed it together on television in 1966.
Morgan begins a European tour in mid-March, but before she departs she will make a stop at the Newberry Opera House for a special acoustic performance. Morgan said audience members can expect an “extremely intimate” concert featuring well-known favorites as well as selections they may not have heard before.
“I look forward to a night filled with great music,” she said.
Ticket information is available at www.newberryoperahouse.com.
Learn more about Lorrie Morgan by visiting her website at www.lorrie.com. Also, follow her on Twitter — @MorganLorrie.
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.