Maren Morris Takes Aim At The Invisible Walls Around Country Music On Girl
On her latest album,
GIRL, Morris pushes the traditional boundaries that have hemmed country artists since the
Dixie Chicks. She partners with
Brandi Carlile on “Common,” a song encouraging the acceptance of gay rights that, except for the addition of the proudly gay Grammy winner, could be a song contrasting Republicans and Democrats. In the video for the title track and lead single, Morris wears a
t-shirt declaring herself a feminist. These may sound like small steps for the woke world of pop, but in country it’s a very big deal. Another big deal: both of those songs were a co-write with Sarah Aarons, the mind and voice behind “The Middle” and produced by Greg Kurstin, the pop producer who has shaped the sounds of everyone from Kelly Clarkson to Adele. So far, it’s not an instant smash: unlike all of Morris’ previous singles, which broke the top 12 on the Country Airplay chart, “Girl” appears to have peaked at the No. 26 spot. Either way, Morris is clearly testing the boundaries of what country audiences and programmers will allow. It’s an essential fight.