Gary Morris is known world-wide for his vocal mastery, able to hold audiences mesmerized and overwhelmed by the pure beauty and inspiration of his voice. Morris had (and has) one of the most beautiful and soaring voices in all of Country Music.
Gary Morris first came to my attention in the early 1980s. Raised in the Lone Star state of Texas, Gary released an album in 1983, 'Why Lady Why'. Further, you may not know that several years before Bette Midler would have a Pop hit with 'Wind Beneath My Wings', Gary had a Top Five hit with it on the Country Music chart.
Gary’s newest album “Sense of Pride”, which is his 13th album, was released in the fall of 2022 and Morris feels it is his most "personal" music to date. “Sense of Pride is the most personal musical work I’ve attempted,” he said. “The project has perspectives about my life and how I see the world. It’s more about my own life, my family, how my dad met my mom, and the war. I really love the record." The title track of the album is about world war 2 , with his father meeting his mother in Mississippi the story he took straight from mom's diary. His mother expressed she was exited about the date and the song also encapsulates how boys goes off to war and the men that return. Gary believes passionately that "When you have a really good piece of material its your responsibility as an artist to get out of way of the material and let piece star."
Co-produced by Morris and Michael Bonagura (Baillie & The Boys), the album features nine songs, eight of which are written or co-written by Morris with one he song, “The Moment” , co-written by Kathie Baillie and Michael Bonagura. Morris continues in the process of rejuvenation of his music on line.
Gary Morris' recording career garnered five #1 and 16 Top 10 singles, including “Why Lady Why,” “The Love She Found in Me”, and “Baby Bye Bye.” Morris’ original rendition of the classic “Wind Beneath My Wings” won both the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music “Song of the Year” awards and Morris was also named “Male Artist of the Year” early in his career.
Morris was born in Fort Worth, TX. and although his own style would become contemporary, he was descended from a long line of traditional Country and Gospel musicians on both sides. In the third grade he and his twin sister won a talent contest with a rendition of "This Old House." As a teenager he sang in a duo with his twin sister, Carrie, then branched out to playing guitar, songwriting and performing in small groups or as a solo act around the Fort Worth area.
Morris played four sports in high school years and won an athletic scholarship to Cisco Junior College near Abilene, although he was intending to go on to Texas Tech. music intervened. Morris and two college friends spent a summer working in Colorado, which would become the singer's permanent home. Gary recalled that the trio of friends asked a Colorado Springs bartender if they could get up on the bandstand and perform a few songs, and the audience's response (and tips) convinced Morris to put his college plans on hold and to pursue a performing career. Eventually he formed his own seven-piece band, Breakaway, and went out on the road for seven years. Morris made a living singing in Denver clubs in the early '70s, also composing advertising jingles for local corporations such as Frontier Airlines.
In 1976, Morris signed on with Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign and sang at several fundraisers. That got him invited to perform at the White House at President Carter's inauguration Ceremony and as fate would have it, Nashville producer Norro Wilson happened to be in that audience. This was Gary's big break and Norro Wilson soon negotiated a recording contract with Warners in 1979. Morris moved to Nashville and made his Country chart debut with "Sweet Red Wine". In 1980, Morris hit the Top 10 with "Headed For A Heartache".
Morris notched hits with up tempo Country/Rock pieces, but it was his decisive turn toward ballad material on his 1983 "Why Lady Why" album that put him at the top of the charts. That album spawned several Top Ten hits, including the title track, "The Love She Found in Me," and "The Wind Beneath My Wings," which steadily grew in popularity. In 1984 and 1985 Morris won a host of awards and made guest appearances on several daytime and evening television series.
Alongside with his regular guest appearances on the TV soap Dynasty II: The Colbys, in which he played blind musician Wayne Masterson. his other dramatic TV roles include Another World, Mike Hammer, Jack’s Place and the lead in the big screen movie A Place To Grow. In the ladder role he selected and supervised the music and performed six of the songs, two of which he co-wrote. Entertainment industry insiders were amazed that although Morris had never studied either singing or acting formally, he was that rare animal, a natural performer and a vocal powerhouse. With the rise of popularity of traditional Country music during this time period, Gary Morris became one of Country music’s most successful recording artists, scoring five number ones and another 11 Top 10 entries during this time period.
In the midst of these Nashville based triumphs, he was summoned to New York to a new outlet for his talents. Morris was offered the role of Jean Valjean in the Broadway production of Les Misérables in New York, becoming the first American to play the part in that European musical. Eventually he also reprised the role in London for the complete Grammy-winning symphonic album which resulted in a Command Performance for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
Morris also appeared with another former progressive country singer, Linda Ronstadt, in the Broadway adaptation of Puccini's opera La Bohème, and he spent much of the 1990s working on other Pop projects such as a PBS special concert performance in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia. But his role in Les Misérables evolved into a part in the show's touring production and then in its symphonically accompanied recording. With all of these activities taking up his time, Morris' Country career seemed to stagnate as his live theater activities, flourished. Gary has stated, "After I appeared in Les Miserables, I recorded three albums but Country radio wouldn’t play any of them because now, all of a sudden, I was considered an opera singer!”
Gary Morris returned to Country music as a performer in Branson, MO, and as a producer in the late '90s. He shepherded the career of his son, Matthew, and often performed private concerts for corporate clients.
Morris didn't give up on Country music as he as he has continued to record Country albums, including the innovative, mostly acoustic "Plain Brown Wrapper".
Morris also incorporated another passion into his life. As rugged outdoorsman he tapped into the athletic interests that had lain dormant since his days as a college football player a long-running TV show, The North American Sportsman. Morris has hunted on all seven continents, and by using his outdoorsman skills he hosted a TV show on The Nashville Network called “North American Sportsman.” That show ran for five seasons and featured many celebrity guests including Bryant Gumbel and Troy Aikman. “We went all over the world hunting and fishing,” Morris said. “I’m an outdoor guy. I've always hunted and fished, and I've been shooting since I was 20.”
Morris also directed and starred in a TNN international series, Somebody Lives There, which was filmed in four Eastern European countries. He produced 10 episodes of his own podcast, “Gary Morris’ From the Beginning,” where he talked about his own remarkable stories and interviewed friends and colleagues from the entertainment business like Paul Worley, American record producer, and Alyssa Bonagura of The Sisterhood Band.
Although Gary was born in Texas and grew up in Fort Worth, he now lives in Colorado at his own fly-fishing lodge in the Colorado Rockies. Fly Fishers International and its Abilene Fly Fishers club partnered with Gary Morris Concert and Fundraising to support wounded veterans. During the pandemic, Morris hosted two virtual benefits for the DEA Education Foundation, where he raised more than $150,000 for the organization.
Morris is equally comfortable holding a bow, gun or fishing rod as he is holding a guitar. His love of the great outdoors, combined with this respect and compassion for veterans have resulted in his affiliation with the two aforementioned institutions. Gary Morris Concert and Fundraising for wounded veterans and Mountain Spirit Ranch as a place where veterans suffering from PTSD can experience the therapeutic properties of the serene sport of fly fishing to treat PTSD and other combat-related conditions.
Gary has four adult and successful sons, Sam, Matt, Hunter, and Garon. One of his sons, Matt Morris, was one of the "New Mouseketeers" on The All New Mickey Mouse Club (1989) with Justin Timberlake.
Gary Morris has been a successful Country music star and Nashville recording artist for more than 40 years now. Whether it is melting hearts with his voice and music, amazing New York City critics with his acting ability, using his outdoor experience to teach others respect for the environment, or using his gifts to help our wounded service men and women through a difficult time in their lives, these is no doubt Gary Morris is impacting the world with his gifts and passion.
As a golden-voiced tenor, Gary Morris can charm an audience with show tunes and Country standards and is an assured entertainer. He continues to perform at his favorite locations, usually as a single, with three guitars. Morris plays to every size of audience, including private shows to big venues and expressed that performing for live audiences gives him a chance to test out new music which he is always creating.
According to Gary Morris, "Country music is not supposed to be perfect, its supposed to be human. To me if you over produce the music it becomes sterile and lacks heart, this world is not perfect nor should Country music be." Gary Morris' "Sense of Pride" is a statement from his heart, its special. Comparing it to his previous music it is not as slick as past songs, more raw. Gary Morris delights on "Sense of Pride", as he displays his subtle, soothing vocals, as well as his exceptional storytelling abilities, painting a vivid picture in the minds of his listeners.
By Deborah Gibson