Wednesday, April 5 was a bittersweet homecoming for Columbia Nashville recording artist Maren Morris.
On one hand the Cannery Ballroom date marked the final US stop of her Hero Tour 2017. On the other, the date marked the confirmation of a revival of sorts for the Arlington, Texas native who moved to Nashville four years ago feeling like her time on stage—mostly performing in the Texas circuit—had ended. But like it always does, undeniable talent rises to the surface.
With the influence of publisher Carla Wallace and manager Janet Weir, Morris released “I Wish I Was” on a Spotify EP and later, the full-length Hero with Sony Nashville. She has gone on to perform on Saturday Night Live and win awards with MusicRow, as well as Grammy, ACM and CMA honors.
Much like predecessors Adele and Katy Perry, who both offered Cannery Ballroom dates on early tours, Morris has launched a movement. Her bustier top and eloquent choker was a hip throwback to a ’90s Shania, Selena or Whitney.
That sex appeal, mixed with her own originality and soul, accompanied Morris through a 60-minute set, which included her trepidatiously vulnerable latest single “I Could Use A Love Song,” a sample of Beyonce’s “Halo” and the two singles that really helped launched her, “80s Mercedes” and “My Church.”
“The Hero Tour is my first ever headlining tour,” said Morris. “My road has been quick the last year, and I’m totally just holding on for dear life.
“I will always be from Texas, but I have lived in Nashville the last four years. Thank you guys for being my hometown forever more, and supporting me as a new artist. There are a lot of people in the room that have seen me play in the crappiest bars and coffee shops. If you don’t support new artists, it doesn’t give us any incentive to do this, so thank you for making my dreams come true.”
Set to spend time after the tour in the writing room for an upcoming record, Morris praised those writers influential in helping her craft her setlist. With nearly every title, Morris continued her homage to these poets (Brett Tyler, “Space;” Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz, “Sugar;” Ian Fitchuk and Heather Morgan,”Bumin’ Cigarettes;” and Ryan Hurd, “I Wish I Was”).
“I get asked a lot, ‘How did you make that happen?’,” said Morris. “I would say be humble, real, authentic, kind, work hard and be patient. There is room for everybody. As a songwriter, it’s the most wonderful town to be a sponge. You can learn from the most incredible people that write here.”
Not only an original songwriter, but soulful and dynamic powerhouse, Morris’ pipes were on full display for titles like “Once” and “Second Wind.”
Hurd, Morris’ label mate and significant other, was welcomed to the stage for the encore performance of the couple’s “Last Turn Home,” which Tim McGraw included on his album Sundown Heaven Town.
Surprise guest the Brothers Osborne joined Morris and Hurd for “Greener Pastures,” a track the four newcomers wrote together, which appears on the reigning ACM New/Vocal Duo of the Year winners’ debut album. Hurd has held the opening slot for many of Morris’ Hero Tour 2017 dates, trading off with Nashville opener, Warner/CAA/Sandbox artist Devin Dawson. Dawson was welcomed for a version of Morris’ “Company You Keep.”
The 20-something crowd sang along, full-force to “Drunk Girls Don’t Cry” and “Rich,” showing the Maren Morris craze among the demographic. Morris even appeared genuinely confused whether or not to move on to the next song or let the audience finish the chorus once the former title had ended, calling it the loudest “shit” she had heard.
The star will hit the UK/Ireland in November for the international leg of her Hero Tour 2017.
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