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Rooted in Country: William Michael Morgan on Keith Whitley’s ‘I Never Go Around Mirrors’

Amy Richmond

Country music newcomer William Michael Morgan has earned praise for his modern traditionalist sound. At just 23 years old, he’s managed to become one of the genre’s most buzzed-about artists. And he’s done it all by simply going back to the basics.

His debut single “I Met a Girl” — written by Sam Hunt, Old Dominion’s Trevor Rosen, and songwriting master Shane McAnally — hit No. 1 earlier this year. It’s a sweet, heartfelt story of finally finding the right person. Morgan’s deep, rich vocals bring plenty of power and emotion to each line.

The qualities found in “I Met a Girl” and the rest of Morgan’s debut album Vinyl are the very same that earned artists like Keith Whitley so much praise. When we asked the Mississippi native to name the one country song that left a lasting impact on him, it’s no surprise that he chose one of the genre’s most celebrated tracks.

“‘I Never Go Around Mirrors’ would be my favorite song of all time,” Morgan tells Wide Open Country. “Not just country, but all genres. Written by Lefty Frizzell and Whitey Shafer, my favorite version of this song is Keith Whitley singing it. This song has always spoken to me. And in my eyes, one of the best country songs ever written.”
The poetic and utterly heartbreaking tune talks of a man who can’t bare to see himself and what he’s become since his great love left him behind. Whitley’s version of the song feels like an honest conversation between the narrator and himself, making each line seem that much more devastating.
That ability to connect through the power of great storytelling and incomparable vocals is one that both Morgan and Whitley share, and what has all but assured Morgan’s position as an influential voice in the genre. And his career is only just getting started.
William Michael Morgan’s debut album, Vinyl, is available in stores and online now. Next year, you can catch him on the road as support for Lee Brice and Justin Moore’s American Made 2017 Tour.

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Rooted in Country: William Michael Morgan on Keith Whitley’s ‘I Never Go Around Mirrors’