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Morris showcases herself as vocalist

Brooklyn Bowl (livestream), Nashville, December 4, 2020

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

You could tell initially that this was going to be a different kind of Maren Morris show.

Nashville's eclectic Brooklyn Bowl stage is within spitting distance of a massive bar and 19 bowling alleys that are part of the entertainment venue.

The normally bedazzled performer walked stealthily onstage in a conservative dress to open with the title track from 2019's "Girl." The song textures were very diverse and effective. "Wish I Was" morphed from a gospel choir into a bouncy pop song where her sass started to shine through with plenty of hair flips and sneers.

The glitz, sass and pop gloss were all still prominent on songs like "The Middle," "Rich" and "80s Mercedes," but the highlight was an untitled song written the day before with Shane McAnally, The song was a raw, autobiographical journey where she bared herself. "I had postpartum depression after the birth of my son. I wrote this song because depression is not a choice, and you can still have it and still be an asshole. Some people make others feel worse than they already do when they're depressed."

On a lighter note, the Grammy nominated Highwomen song "Loose Change" brought the mood back up before the home stretch. She brought out husband Ryan Hurd for the most country song of the night, "All My Favorite People." Guitarist Bennett Lewis shredded the whole song and gave the show a party vibe. The band was tight all night, with bassist Annie Clements (formerly a standout with Sugarland) leading the ensemble and taking lead vocals on several songs.

As if drawing attention to these strange times, only the muted blue floor lights were illuminated between songs lending a feel of time standing still for the two-hour show. She finessed a beautiful version of "The Bones" before predictably closing with her career maker, "My Church." with her husband joining the fray again. The entirety of the evening felt like she was showcasing herself as a vocalist and not just a contemporary country star. It suited Morris very well.



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