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Morris kicks some ass

Stage AE , Pittsburgh, July 15, 2022

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

In her CMA acceptance speech, Miranda Lambert said, "I'm so happy to be a part of the women in country music, we're really starting to kick some ass." She was staring directly at Maren Morris and with good reason.| .

Morris began her show by saying "I'm going to showcase the new album, and I'll play a lot of old hits too because it would be stupid if I didn't.

Any fears about the audience being unfamiliar with the newer material from her latest, "Humble Quest," were allayed in the first 15 minutes when the collective sang along to the triple shot of "The Furthest Thing" the single "Circles around This Town" and "I Can't Love You Anymore."

From there, she delivered a 21-song stet that vacillated between gritty, sultry and upbeat contemporary.

The band was taken to another level by bassist Annie Clements whose tour credits include Sugarland and Amos Lee. She played different textures including jazz and funky slap and proved herself a fine vocalist whether filling lead or backup roles on the rock numbers. Morris proved she can hold her own belt range on a cover of Fiona Apple's "Criminal."

When it was time to slow down, she and Clements performed a stripped-down version of "I Could Use a Love Song" in the mezzo soprano range. Though Morris is an energetic performer, the stage setup was relatively simple.

Morris's demographic is mainly young women dressed in country cool attire. There were also blue haired grannies and members of both sexes from Generations X, Y and Z.

If pleasing that type of audience group seems counter intuitive and difficult, so does making a techno pop smash with Zedd and a career defining gospel anthem. She has done them both.

In a very nice gesture, she closed the show with "My Church "on a B stage to honor those patrons who may have not had such a great view.

Opener Brent Cobb provided the more traditional feel. Proficient on both acoustic and electric guitar, his style of gritty country and gospel and rock evokes Chris Stapleton, with whom he recently toured. Rather than conflicting with Morris' polar opposite contemporary sound It blended nicely giving a traditional feel, something Morris' catalog is a little short on.

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