And now Keith is remembering their performance together in an Instagram post. On Monday, the musician shared two photos and a video from the state fair with his followers. The duo performed on Aug. 15.
“Last week, @cmorganmusic joined Toby on stage for ‘Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue’ at the Illinois State Fair!” Keith posted.
Craig Morgan Found His Purpose Through Grief
When he’s not performing with Toby Keith, Morgan is pretty busy. He has a new record out, “God, Family, Country.” And he hosts “American Plumber Stories,” a YouTube series about plumbers across the nation.
But Morgan wasn’t always so successful. It wasn’t until after a personal tragedy that he really hit his stride and found his calling.
Morgan’s son Jerry died at age 19 in a drowning accident in July of 2016, per the Associated Press. After that, it took Morgan three years to make it back to the Grand Ole Opry, the last place that he hung out with Jerry before his death.
But when he did, Morgan performed a song he wrote about his son, titled “The Father, My Son, and The Holy Ghost.” The song is about the excruciating pain of losing a child and the slow journey back to faith.
“I cried and cried and cried until I passed out on the floor,” Morgan sang. “Then I prayed and prayed and prayed till I thought I couldn’t pray anymore.”
When he stepped off stage, Morgan was totally drained. He told his friend, Country Hall of Famer Ricky Skaggs, that he wasn’t sure he could ever sing that song again.
“Ricky told me, ‘You have to sing this song for the rest of your life,’” Morgan told the AP.
Morgan was not signed to a label at that point. But then Blake Shelton tweeted about the song, and before long, Kelly Clarkson, Luke Combs and Carson Daly did, too. The song rose to No. 3 on Billboard’s country digital song sales.
Morgan felt called by God to perform the song. And soon enough, his faith was rewarded; he got a record deal with Broken Bow Records. And he planned to use it to help comfort others.
Toby Keith Wrote ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue’ for His Dad
As the lyrics to the song plainly attest, Keith wrote “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue” in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001. He sings of freedoms, respect for the flag and payback for those vicious attacks.
But as Taste of Country notes, the heart of the song is this verse: “My daddy served in the Army/Where he lost his right eye/But he flew a flag in our yard/Until the day that he died.”
Keith’s father died a little more than three months before 9/11, when his truck hit a bus traveling in the opposite direction. It later emerged that the charter bus had faulty brakes and Keith’s father’s car had been sideswiped before the accident that brought his death.
In the song, Keith seems to channel all that the flag meant to his father and to imagine how he would have reacted to those terrorist attacks. And, as with “The Father, My Son, and The Holy Ghost,” the memories of those we’ve lost makes the songs that much more powerful.