By including deep cuts from previous albums on his new God, Family, Country album, Craig Morgan is able to tell important stories buried by a string of early to mid-00s country hits. His record label Broken Bow Records would have preferred "Redneck Yacht Club" and "Little Bit of Life," he concedes. But those songs just didn't fit the story he wanted to tell.

Instead, longtime fans get to revisit songs like "Lotta Man (In That Little Boy)," while newer fans get a chance to scrape beyond his most played songs on Spotify. This particular ballad was inspired by a dog Morgan fondly recalls as the best retriever he ever had.

“My wife let him out one morning and for whatever reason, he’d never done it before, he went out across the road and a car hit him," the singer recalls. He was on tour and his son Kyle, just nine years old at the time, ran up to the scene and objected when an older neighbor tried to shield him and take care of the animal.

“My son said, ‘No, it was my dad’s dog. He would want me to do it,'" the 55-year-old recalls. "And when they told me the story I said, ‘There’s a lot of man in that little boy.’”

That's one of several "Family" songs on Morgan's new album, available May 22, but just one. It's hard not to think of his home front as he sings the timeless "That's What I Love About Sunday." There's also a devastating ballad about his late son Jerry called "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost" that Morgan's talked much more about than he'd like. While he's proud of the song and appreciates the effect it's had on others who've lost loved ones, talking about Jerry is akin to taking a deep breath with a broken rib. The pain is physical.

Craig Morgan Explains How His Song for Jerry Is a Blessing and a Curse: 

While Morgan's cover of Gavin DeGraw's "Soldier" will surely steal headlines — and it should — his personal performance during "Going Out Like This" is worthy of attention.

“I just felt like it was a super, super sexy song about a real life situation,” Morgan says of a song he helped write within the last two years. “The reality is I’ve been married to the same woman (Karen) for 30 years, and we argue and we have had disagreements, but I love the fact that we’ve managed to get through all of our differences.”

There's something very real about the way Morgan bounces between angst and seduction. Marriages often get uprooted by tragedy, and as he leans into the powerful chorus you hear every bit of that tension, stress and commitment in his voice.

“We’ve had our problems just like anybody else out there, but we also made a decision that no matter what happened, we were gonna make sure that we didn’t give up on each other," he says. "And there have been times when one of us may have given up for a little bit and the other one held on. That’s just kind of the way it goes."

god family country
Broken Bow Records

"Whiskey" is another new song that dives into the heartbreak of tragedy, while "Sippin' On the Simple Life" is a more lake-ready country-rocker co-written by two career military men.

The title track, "My Kind of Woman" and "Almost Home" round out the five older songs on God, Family, Country. Kerry Kurt Phillips helped write "Almost Home" nearly 20 years ago, but time has not clarified what actually happens to the homeless man depicted. Is he sleeping, or was he dying?

“Kerry and I both had different perspectives when we wrote the song, and yet we wrote the same thing," Morgan says.

Blake Shelton Grieved for Craig Morgan In the Most Humble Way: 

Craig Morgan's God, Family, Country Track Listing:

1. "The Father, My Son and the Holy Ghost" (Craig Morgan)
2. "Soldier" (Gavin DeGraw)
3. "Going Out Like That" (Morgan, Michael Rogers, Korey Hunt, Sam Banks)
4. "Whiskey" (Anthony Smith, Sarah Beth Terry)
5. "Sippin' on the Simple Life" (Morgan, Rogers, Justin Wright, Andrew Yacovone)
6. "God, Family and Country" (Morgan, Craig Morris, Lance McDaniel) **
7. "That's What I Love About Sunday" (Adam Dorsey, Mark Narmore) *
8. "My Kind of Woman" (Morgan, Phil O'Donnell, Jason Sellers) ***
9. "Almost Home" (Morgan, Kerry Kurt Phillips) **
10. "Lotta Man (In That Little Boy)" (Morgan, Phil O'Donnell, Tim Owens) *

*Originally recorded on My Kind of Livin' (2005)
**Originally recorded on I Love It (2003)
***Originally recorded on Little Bit of Life (2006)

Check Out the 50 Best Country Albums of the 2010s: 

More From 92.9 The Bull