A ‘national’ controversy: Anthem singer is miffed

May 18, 2017
Jim McNutt/Observer-Reporter Exterior of the Observer-Reporter building in Washington.

As you are no doubt well aware, there are a lot of singers in Nashville, Tenn., which is the epicenter of the country music industry. One of those singers is a gentleman named Dennis K. Morgan. We’re guessing you’ve never heard of Dennis K. Morgan, and that’s not surprising, because his claim to “fame” is that he does most of the national anthem singing for the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators, who currently are in the Western Conference finals, trying to lock up a spot to battle either the Pittsburgh Penguins or Ottawa Senators for the Stanley Cup.

However, of late, Morgan has not been doing all of the anthem singing, and he’s hot under the collar about it.

It seems that the team, being in Nashville, was approached by some major country stars who were interested in doing the anthem at Predators playoff games. Megastar Carrie Underwood, who is married to the team’s captain, Mike Fisher, is among those who have done the honors. Other big-name anthem singers of late have included the venerable Vince Gill, country superstar Luke Bryan and Lady Antebellum.

Consider Morgan’s undergarments twisted.

“I’m not going to hide my disappointment, and I told the Predators that I have been asked the same question over and over, and it’s just really getting old,” Morgan told the local newspaper, The Tennessean. “Everywhere I go – obviously at my day job (as a health-care IT recruiting manager) and at the (hockey) arena, as well as everywhere else I go – to church, grocery stores, on the street, in meetings and in restaurants – people want to know how I feel.”

Like most of you, we had never heard Morgan deliver his “Star-Spangled Banner,” so we checked a YouTube video. He’s a capable singer, but there’s little danger of his national anthem performance causing one to bust out in gooseflesh. He’s no Jeff Jimerson, is what we’re saying. Jimerson, for those who don’t know, is the top-flight anthem singer for our Pittsburgh Penguins.

But Morgan isn’t taking a backseat to anyone, it seems.

“They came to me and said the captain’s wife (Underwood) asked to sing the anthem (before the third game of the opening-round series against the Blackhawks),” said Morgan. “It was presented to me as a one-night-only kind of thing, and I agreed to it. Then they continued to bring in those other singers and touted them as ‘A-listers,’ which kind of hurt me.”

Morgan said he went to a team official and advised that he was going to take his plight to the newspaper. The team official, said Morgan, told him to go ahead.

The Predators, in a statement to The Tennessean in response to Morgan’s gripes, were hardly apologetic, saying the team “values” Morgan’s efforts, but, “The reaction from our fans in Bridgestone Arena as well as from around the country to seeing and hearing world-class performers such as Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Vince Gill and his daughters, Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum during the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Said Morgan, “I don’t blame Carrie Underwood or Luke Bryan or any of the other acts who have performed. I’ve been as good-natured as I can be. With my closest friends, I’ve certainly shared my disappointment. But most of the time I’ll toe the company line and say, ‘Why am I not singing? Because I don’t have seven Grammys, I’m not married to the captain, she’s a whole lot prettier than me,’ that kind of thing, and try to leave it at that.”

But Morgan’s feelings have been hurt, and he’s not so sure he wants to come back next season.

“I’ll have to do some soul-searching over the summer, because it has been kind of insulting,” he said.

Perhaps the Predators should save him all of that deep thinking and just advise him not to let the zamboni hit him on his way out. Because, as country folks might say, it seems as if this guy has gotten way too big for his britches.

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