Craig Morgan and his family are taking the bold step of opening up their lives to the public on their new TV show, “Morgan Family Strong.” The series drops in on the family as Craig juggles his career as a country star along with the family’s new endeavor of running a store in their hometown of Dickson, Tennessee, that sells Craig’s handmade goods.
The cameras also capture the family as they face the tragic death of Craig’s 19-year-old son, Jerry Greer. He passed away in a boating accident in July 2016 shortly after graduating from high school, and the family has been dealing with the tragedy privately up until now. Though there are plenty of lighthearted moments on “Morgan Family Strong,” viewers will get an honest portrayal of the family’s heartbreak as they process their unimaginable loss.
For Craig, being able to open up about his pain is an essential part of the grieving process.
“It can be a form of therapy to talk about it,” he tells Rare Country. “So, maybe by this happening, in some weird, strange, sick, unacceptable way, God’s making us use this platform to help other people. It is what it is, ’cause here’s the reality: I can’t bring him back, and that sucks. It sucks so bad, because there’s never been anything in my life that I couldn’t do until this. And I can’t do that. So, what I have to do is believe that God is real and try to do as much as I can to show that and share that, and hopefully we can help others.”
Craig and his family don’t shy away from letting the tears flow as they talk about losing Jerry, but they also share how they’re moving forward with their new store, The Gallery at Morgan Farms.
Craig’s daughter, Aly Beaird, is heavily involved in running the shop, and Craig makes most of the items for sale there with his own two hands. You can drop in and buy spoons, bowls and other items Craig has crafted himself from reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials. The concept for the store was actually inspired by a dream of Jerry’s that he once shared with Craig.
“Jerry, right before he passed, had called me and talked to me about wanting to be in a business with me — a recycling business, ironically,” Craig tells us. “So, every time I do something with a refurbished, or a reclaimed or a repurposed piece of wood, I think about Jerry. I think about, ‘I’m recycling, son, and you would be proud of this.’ I know that he would make fun of the way the bowl looked. Every time I do something, I think about that.”
The Gallery at Morgan Farms also sells the handmade bracelets that Jerry’s friends started making in his memory to raise money for the Jerry Greer Memorial Scholarship Fund. Proceeds from that fund benefit student athletes at his alma mater, and Aly says that effort is an indication of just how giving Jerry was to his friends and family.
She explains, “I think that’s a very important part of this. We didn’t start this scholarship as a family. The school didn’t start this scholarship. His buddies started this, and they raised $30,000 over the span of a couple weeks. That’s the kind of impact that this kid had. He was very positive. He had a lot of friends.”
Craig adds, “He loved them all, and he loved his family.”
By opening their lives up to cameras as this difficult time, Craig and Aly feel their family will be able to give hope to viewers facing similar situations. For those viewers, it’s certainly a blessing to see firsthand how this family is working through their grief in such a creative way.
“Hopefully, we will inspire people,” Craig says. “That’s what we really want to do as a family, with the TV show or without the TV show. Hopefully this goes well, and it’s good for everyone involved, and a lot of people stand to do well. But if not, it’s OK, too. We still are gonna do the exact same things that we’re doing. We just might not be filmed.”
“Morgan Family Strong” premieres March 1 at 9:30 p.m. ET on cable channel UP TV.