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Country singer Craig Morgan will perform at WE Fest, his first time at the festival, on Friday.

Craig Morgan to make WE Fest debut

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Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

"I don't know where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been ..."

So goes the opening phrase of the 1980s chart-topper "Here I Go Again." But for country singer-songwriter Craig Morgan, those lyrics don't quite ring true.

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"I don't know where I've been or where I'm going, but I know where I'm at," he said with a laugh. "We do about 120 to 160 shows on the road, and I've been doing a lot of stuff in between this year, so I'm always confused about where I was the day before."

Which isn't so surprising, considering that the day before this interview, Morgan had spent time in three different states: Tennessee, Wisconsin and New York.

"And the week before, we were in Salt Lake City, Missouri, Wisconsin... we've been touring all over the country," Morgan added.

The performer, who will be making his WE Fest debut on Friday, Aug. 7 at Detroit Lakes' Soo Pass Ranch, admitted that touring comes with mixed emotions.

"I enjoy touring," he says. "Seeing the effect that our music has on people is a very cool thing -- knowing that they enjoy our music that much."

But at the same time, he said, being separated from his family for so many months of the year can be difficult.

"I'm a homebody -- I miss my home and family," he said. Besides being married to his wife for 21 years now, Morgan also has four children between the ages of 11-19.

"They live their own lives ... they go to school, play soccer and baseball -- my daughter was in ballet this year," Morgan adds. "I hate being away from my family ... I try to be there as much as I can, but I've missed out on a lot."

Not that he's complaining.

"This is my job -- this is what I do to make a living and support my wife and family," Morgan said. "I'm just very fortunate that I absolutely love my job."

Born in Nashville, Tenn., Morgan's love of music and performing was fostered early in life.

"Every day growing up, music was a part of my life in some way," he said. "My dad was a bass player."

But it wasn't until he left home that Morgan realized it was a true calling. Music has been anything but a lifelong profession for Morgan, who spent 10 years on active military duty in addition to being employed as an EMT, a contractor, a sheriff's deputy, and even as a Wal-Mart assistant dairy manager.

He said it was during his days in the military that he began to miss the music that had filled his childhood memories, and to write songs of his own.

"Initially, I just wanted to be a songwriter, to make a living and support my family," he says.

But someone at one of the major record labels heard one of his song demos, and eventually, Morgan was signed to a contract with Atlantic Nashville.

"And here we are, five records and three record companies later," he said.

Morgan's success has stretched from major to independent record labels, and back again.

"We were very fortunate to make the right decisions at the right time," he said.

Morgan admits his strong faith plays a big role in those decisions.

"Faith handles all my day to day activities," he said. "You have a lot of people depending on you, so you want to make the right decisions."

Morgan still writes or co-writes roughly 60-70 percent of his own material, which is drawn from his life experiences.

His gift for what he calls "real life stuff" has resulted in chart-toppers like "That's What I Love About Sunday" and "International Harvester."

His latest CD release, "That's Why," came out in October 2008. The first single off that record, "Love Remembers," was his 11th top-10 hit on the country charts.

Writing songs, recording and performing them -- it all goes toward the same end result, "To put music out there that people enjoy," Morgan said.

This Friday will mark his debut on the Soo Pass stage -- and he said he couldn't be happier to be here.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Morgan said. "To be able to perform in front of that many people -- that's a big deal."

Morgan is scheduled to perform Friday at 5:45 p.m. For more information, and a complete lineup of next weekend's performers, visit the WE Fest web site at www.wefest.com. Though the site is no longer accepting online ticket sales for the 2009 show, tickets can still be purchased at the gate.

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