Life has effloresced into full bloom for country music superstar Lorrie Morgan, as she revels in the double-bouquet of a new marriage and the release of her first-ever live-concert recording, "The Color of Roses."
She departs this weekend for a brief but spacious concert tour to promote the album, a trip that includes a one-night stand April 21 at Grand Casino Mille Lacs in Onamia.
Morgan -- known for her platinum-coated voice, brassy personality and cover-girl appearance -- spent the Easter holiday at her Nashville area home, knocking around the kitchen and initiating pre-arranged media calls.
If you go
Who: Lorrie Morgan
What: Country singer
Where: Grand Casino Mille Lacs
When: 7 p.m. April 21
Cost: Sold out
"I'm just doing what I was told," she said in her trademark Tennessee-born-and-bred twang. "You'd be surprised what a good girl I am."
So good, in fact, that Morgan, who has sharply curtailed her performance schedule in recent months, spent the early hours of Good Friday talking with reporters and painting Easter eggs -- before attending an afternoon Catholic Church service with her mother.
Morgan shuffled pots and pans into her dishwasher as she responded to questions about her new marriage, new album and the "Roses" tour, mundane activities for a country diva who can summon any of "four or five" private jets to whisk her away to destinations anywhere in the world.
"I feel like royalty," she said, and well she should considering that at 42 she has assembled a sterling career that has featured multiple platinum and gold albums, a covey of Top 10 hits, and multiple awards as Female Vocalist of the Year.
Her latest project -- "a mixture of new and old things I've never done before," including the hot single "The Color of Roses" -- has lofted Morgan back into country music's competitive limelight.
The project also satisfied a "lifelong dream" of issuing a live-concert recording, in this case a Nashville performance backed by the Belmont University School of Music Orchestra.
She's scheduled a series of promotional concerts to support the album, but by month's end Morgan will hurry back to her lakeside retreat in an exclusive, semi-rural suburb on Nashville's northeast side, where she and hubby Sammy Kershaw have set up house.
The couple, considered by many as country music's latest dream team, tied the knot last September in a showpiece ceremony that inspired a cover story in Country Weekly magazine, an industry mainstay.
The publication billed the super-couple's marriage as "the wedding of the year," a redemptive headline considering the tabloid gossip that ensnared Morgan in Kershaw's messy divorce from his wife of 14 years only months before.
The Tennessee judge handling the case slapped Kershaw with hefty alimony and child support payments, blaming the divorce on the high-hat singer's long-running affair with Morgan, according to media accounts of the court decision.
Forever tied to the memory of her first husband, country singer Chris Whitley -- he died of alcohol poisoning in 1989 -- Morgan has weathered tabloid-level gossip in the past, prompted in part by her frequent divorces. Kershaw is her fifth husband.
Malicious gossip, in fact, surfaced about the couple's imminent breakup shortly after their "wedding of the year," a rumor Morgan and Kershaw vehemently quashed.
"I wouldn't trade him for nothing," Morgan told the media at the time. "I mean, he's what I've needed for a long time and didn't know it. I have found my perfect match."
To canonize the point, the couple released their first joint project, "I Finally Found Someone," to critical acclaim, just weeks after Kershaw's divorce was final.
Kershaw, who has carved out a respectable country music career of his own, shows up from time to time at Morgan's concert dates, she said, including about a dozen joint appearances on behalf of their album.
"I'm not sure if Sammy will come along with me on the 'Roses' tour," Morgan said, but left the matter open to speculation.
"It's better when the audience does not suspect it," she added, hinting that Kershaw may make an appearance during her "Roses" tour. "Everybody loves a surprise."
So the Grand Casino Mille Lacs audience might be in line for a special surprise. But you can forget about finding tickets. Morgan's April 21 performance sold out in six hours when tickets went on sale weeks ago.
The "Roses" album marks another milestone in Morgan's career, a change that has aided and abetted her newfound satisfaction with life, she said.
After 14 successful album releases under the RCA Records label, Morgan switched to Image Entertainment for her latest project, a move prompted by her desire for "more creative control," the singer said.
"I thought I deserved and I demanded to be more in control of my own records," Morgan said, "and I didn't feel that some young kid could come in and pick my damn songs for me. What do they know?
"You have to pay your dues and earn respect and I have paid those dues and know what my fans want to hear, so I butted heads a lot" with RCA's young producers, she said. "You reach a point where it's time to move on."
Morgan said Image Entertainment appealed to her "because it is not in the Nashville scene ... and will put out music they want to put out. Image is willing to take chances, and that is what Nashville is not doing anymore."
And taking chances is what Morgan is all about.
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