Craig Morgan recently re-recorded some of his biggest hits with some of his good friends for his new EP Enlisted. And that includes his classic, “Almost Home.”
First released in 2002 from his second album I Love It, the song has become not only one of Morgan’s signature songs but also a hit that still resonates with fans just as much as it did when it was released over two decades ago.
So when it came time to re-record the song for his new album, Craig called in what may seem at first glance to be an unlikely collaborator: Jelly Roll.
But Craig had good reason for wanting the rapper-turned-country star on the song.
During his Grand Ole Oprydebut, an emotional Jelly Roll talked about the impact that Craig’s music had on his life while he was incarcerated:
“In that jail cell I found strength in country music. I used to listen to Craig Morgan sing ‘Almost Home’ in my jail cell and think, ‘I’m gonna change my life when I get home.’
I came home and Googled “Craig Morgan live performance” and he was right here at the Grand Ole Opry. I sat right there where that man with the ball cap in the seventh row back on this row is sitting. No lie. And I watched Craig Morgan and cried.”
Speaking on the praise from Jelly Roll, Craig said it was humbling to hear that his song impacted somebody that much:
“It brought me to tears, it was that humbling to know that I was a part of something that impacted his life in such a positive way.
I immediately called my manager and said, ‘I don’t know him, but get this guy’s number. I want to talk to this guy. I want to meet him. I want him to know what that meant to me.’
Because all he did was sit up there and talk about how important that song was and how important my music was to him. I wanted him to know how important what he said right there was to me.
And we became friends and have been ever since.”
Last year Craig invited the singer to join him for a performance of “Almost Home” at the Opry, and even presented him with a special gift: A set of handwritten lyrics to the song.
So it only made sense that Jelly Roll should be the one to join Craig on the new version of the song.
And during a recent show at the Grand Ole Opry celebrating Craig’s 15 years of being an Opry member, he had a big surprise for the crowd.
While introducing the song, Craig talked about re-recording “Almost Home” with Jelly Roll, but he played it coy, telling the crowd that he wished Jelly Roll could be there to sing it with him tonight before launching into the first verse.
Little did they know that Jelly Roll was actually waiting backstage, a surprise guest for the evening who was there just to join Craig on the hit song.
As he got to the chorus and Jelly Roll walked out on stage, the folks at the Grand Ole Opry lost their minds: