- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - Ronald Murphy knew he was hearing something special on that night about seven years ago.

Murphy, a longtime musician from Lauderdale County, walked into a bar across the state line in Tennessee and heard a young man singing and jamming on a guitar. His ears immediately perked up.

“I heard something in his voice that was different,” he said. “It was raw, and he was doing it naturally. I thought, ‘I might want to be a part of that.’ “

So, Murphy introduced himself to the man after the show. The man shook his hands and said his name is Trey Morgan.

“Remember that name,” Murphy said last week. “It’s going to be big.”

Morgan, who grew up in Goodsprings and lives in the Limestone County community of Lester just across the line from Lauderdale County, has signed a recording contract with 50/50 Global Muzic.

It was a relief,” Morgan said. “I’ve worked so hard for so long. I about threw in the towel.”

He laughs when he remembers being notified about the contract. “They said, ‘Congratulations. Now get to work,’ ” Morgan said.

The contract calls for two CDs over four years. Murphy will perform with Morgan and said the sessions likely will be split among the Shoals and Nashville studios. Global is based in New York City but has a Nashville office.

Morgan hopes a single from the first CD will be released in September. He has written several songs, including “Down This Road,” ”All I Brought Home” and “That’s Just How She Goes,” but is not certain what song will be the September release.

Morgan gives a great deal of credit to Murphy for helping him along the way. At 57, Murphy is a sort of mentor to the 37-year-old rising star.

Murphy has used his experience as a lifelong musician to help him navigate his way.

“I’ve learned so much from him, it’s hard to begin to describe,” Morgan said. “He’s taught me a whole lot about musical theory and also a lot of life lessons. We still learn from each other. We play and bounce well off each other, that camaraderie.”

The men also give a great deal of credit to Mandy Church, of Synchronicity PR, who was responsible for connecting them with Global. They said it took a lot of work from a lot of people to reach this point.

It also took a personal comeback by Murphy. He suffered a stroke in June 2012 that caused him to lose movement on his left side.

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