Craig Morgan

When country music star Craig Morgan is asked why he’s returning to Country Thunder in Florence for the second time in three years, his answer is simple: “Fans and money.”

“If somebody wants to pay us and the fans want to see us, we’re there,” Morgan said in a phone interview. “As long as that happens, I’ll keep doing it.”

And if Morgan’s last appearance at Country Thunder in 2012 is an indicator, fans will no doubt flock to see him when he goes on stage Saturday, April 12 at 7 p.m.

Twice nominated for Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards’ Top New Male Vocalist (2006, 2007), Morgan is also the winner of Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards’ Video of the Year and Mainstream Country Artist, and has charted 17 times on the Billboard country charts.

The list of Morgan’s hits, which include “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” “Redneck Yacht Club,” and “International Harvester,” has only expanded since 2012.

“I’m still Craig Morgan. I’m the same guy I was last time I was there, I’ve just got more hits, and a beard,” he said.

One of those new hits is “Wake Up Lovin’ You,” which Morgan called the biggest hit of his career.

The song follows the journey of a man who falls in love with a woman only to end up heartbroken.

“It is a heartache song,” said Morgan. “That’s what it’s about, but the great thing about this song is you don’t have to have had heartache, or been in the situation that the guy in the song has been in, to enjoy the song. There’s something about the melody and the lyrics that make you feel compassion for him, and that’s a rare jewel to find.”

Morgan, who is a former veteran, broke into the country music industry in 2000, said some things – such as the turnout at Country Thunder – still surprise him.

“I think it’s absurd, to be honest, that that many people still show up to see us,” said Morgan. “We really do appreciate the fact that a lot of people go out and spend their hard-earned money to hang out with us.”

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