For a country with about 10% of the population of the United States, Canada has produced more than its share of country stars.
From Hank Snow, “The Singing Ranger,”in the 1950s, to Anne Murray in the 1970s and 1980s and Shania Twain in the 1990s – to name a few – the Great White North has had a massive impact on Music Row and country radio. Now Craig Moritz, an exciting new artist who hails from remote towns in Western Canada with names like Medicine Hat and Fort McMurray, is working with top Row producers and songwriters to stake his own musical claim in Music City.
“Coming here as an outsider, I come to Nashville with a professional outlook,” Moritz says.
“Then I like to go back home, work my shows, play for my fans in Canada, and keep building this as I go along. Then I’m excited every time I come down here.”
Craig’s professionalism and fierce work ethic have caught the attention of several Row heavyweights. His recordings are now being produced by Eddie Gore, who is Steve Cropper’s right-hand man and studio wizard, and Moritz is writing with top tunesmiths including Byron Hill and Bernie Nelson. Hill’s hits include George Strait’s “Fool-Hearted Memory” and Gary Allan’s “Nothin’ On But The Radio” and Nelson penned the #1 hit for Confederate Railroad “Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind.”
Hill recently said in an interview, “Craig’s a real writer.”
The beauty of Moritz’s recordings are that they’re happening on both sides of the border. Gore recently spent time with Moritz in Calgary, mixing Craig’s album with top Canadian engineer Johnny Gasparic, of MCC Studio. “If you’re gonna do anything in Nashville, you have to play the game to a certain extent,” Moritz says. “But I also had to keep Canada involved.”
Moritz’s cuts on songs like “When I Get On A Roll” feature strong, guitar-based rocking country highlighted by Craig’s strong baritone vocals. “You Should Have Seen Her This Morning” includes Keith Urban-style chiming guitars and powerhouse Moritz that explore lower vocal registers much like Trace Adkins and Josh Turner.
Another recent highlight is Moritz’s recording of “No Fun Haters,” the title track of Nashville Music Guide C0-Editor Joe Matthews’s fine solo album.
The journey from Western Canada to Nashville was both a long distance and a long time coming for the hardworking Moritz.
His family comes from the wheat-farming regions of the province of Saskatchewan. Craig’s grandmother was one of the only musicians in the family, but they always listened to country radio, and country albums by artists including Waylon Jennings and Don Williams were always on the record player.
“I loved country growing up,” he says.