July 10, 2009 — Craig Morgan trips all over his tongue when he sings about his "p-p-p-p-plower" in "International Harvester," but he doesn't have a difficult time in real life talking about his personal history on the farm.
The two-year-old hit goofed on the traffic tie-ups tractors create on rural two-lane roads, and Craig was able to poke fun at the topic because he knows it well.
He started working on his grandfather's farm when he was "old enough to pick up a bail of hay," Craig told The Springfield State Journal-Register in Illinois. And he continued doing those chores until his grandfather died.
"I was there every summer," Craig said. "That's where we went in the summer and on the weekends. I bailed hay. I've done it all: cut, crop, cattle. I've done it all at some point or another."
Recording "International Harvester" had multiple benefits. Not only did the song give him a bona fide hit, but the title also caught the attention of the combine manufacturer. International Harvester is now a sponsor of Craig's tour.
"As much as [the song is] talking about a particular style of tractor, it's really about a lifestyle," Craig said. "It's a lifestyle that a lot of people, I think — I don't want to say take for granted, but they overlook. They don't think of that anymore."
While much has been made of Craig's history in the military, the time he spent on his grandfather's farm reinforces the image of him as a man's man. He also worked as a contractor, a sheriff's deputy and the assistant manager of a retail dairy department before he made his living on a concert stage.
His concerts over the coming week will be fitting for a guy who's at home with a road-hogging tractor as he plays a series of country concerts and fair dates in small Midwestern towns. He appears Friday in Baraboo, Wis.; Saturday in Fort Laramie, Ohio; Monday in Kirksville, Mo.; Tuesday in Springfield, Ill.; and Wednesday in Fond du Lac, Wis.