Friday, September 15, 2023 – Maren Morris is bidding adieu to country music with a surprise two-song EP, "The Bridge," out today.
"The Tree" was produced by Greg Kurstin, and "Get the Hell Out of Here" was produced by Jack Antonoff. The EP was released by Columbia Records. Morris previously was on Sony Nashville, part of the Columbia empire.
Morris has been outspoken among country acts in being supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. She also has talked often about racism within country and tangled with Jason Aldean and his wife over trans issues.
Morris has been on the receiving end of negative comments. Tucker Carlson called her a "lunatic."
Morris said in a press release that "The Bridge" was "a connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent conditions.
These two songs are incredibly key to my next step because they express a very righteously angry and liberating phase of my life these last couple of years, but also how my navigation is finally pointing towards the future, whatever that may be or sound like. Honoring where I've been and what I've achieved in country music, but also freely moving forward."
"'The Tree' is about a toxic 'family tree' burning itself to the ground. Halfway through, I realize it's burning itself down without any of my help. This song evokes the pain of exhausting all your love and time for this person or 'entity,' but realizing it's just a draining, transactional relationship that isn't nourishing in any healthy way. By the end of the song, I give myself permission to face the sun, plant new seeds where it's safer to grow and realize that sometimes there IS greener grass elsewhere."
The video features Morris walking through an imaginary boarded up town with signage saying "Go woke go broke" and "don't tread on me." A storefront sign proclaims, "We will miss you."
"'Get the Hell Out of Here' is the part two to the tree burning. Being quite literally burned out, this is a story of me feeling pulled in every direction, needing everyone else's understanding and acceptance, but my own and how self-destructive that ultimately became. I relinquish control of trying to change everyone's mind or bad behavior and focus on my own power going forward. Doing the right thing can feel lonely at times, but there are more friends than foes, so I finally quit making myself one of them.'"
In the song, Morris sings, "The more I hang around here, the less I give a damn."
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Morris said, "I don't want to have an adversarial relationship to country music. I still find myself weirdly wanting to protect it. But it's not a family member. That's the fucked-up part, is that I'm talking about it as if it's a person, but it's not. So it's a lot of deep deconstructing that I'm still unraveling."
"I've always been an asker of questions and a status quo challenger just by being a woman. So it wasn't really even a choice. I didn't think of myself as a political artist. I just wrote songs about real life through a lens of deep respect for my country heroes. But the further you get into the country music business, that's when you start to see the cracks. And once you see it, you can't un-see it. So you start doing everything you can with the little power you have to make things better.
"That doesn't make you popular. But I don't think that biting the hand that fed you is a real thing. It's kind of a fallacy at this point, with all this fear-mongering about getting Dixie Chick-ed and whatnot. Country music is a business, but it gets sold, particularly to young writers and artists who come up within it, as almost a god. It kind of feels like indoctrination. If you truly love this type of music and you start to see problems arise, it needs to be criticized. Anything this popular should be scrutinized if we want to see progress.
"But I've kind of said everything I can say. I always thought I'd have to do middle fingers in the air jumping out of an airplane, but I'm trying to mature here and realize I can just walk away from the parts of this that no longer make me happy."
Morris is about to wrap an arena tour with The Chicks in Canada following a run of European dates and a sold-out headline show at London's O2 Forum Kentish Town earlier this summer.
Seeing Greg Kurstin listed as the producer on Maren Morris' "Humble Quest" album, can't help but raise a few eyebrows. His resume includes the likes of Pink and Sia, but not many country-related artists. Furthermore, it wasn't too long ago that Morris had big hit with "The Middle," a decidedly pop hit single recorded with the Russian-German producer, Zedd. This album's results are not as overtly pop as that recording, but not as country as her country hit "My Church. ...
Maren Morris, who had a huge pop hit with "The Middle," is never going to be anybody's ideal traditional country singer. Although, thankfully, there isn't anything that mind-numbingly beat-driven on her "GIRL" album, this is a full-length that will likely appeal as much to Morris' pop fans, as her country followers.
The first great song, "A Song For Everything," addresses that mysterious intersection between one's favorite songs and significant life events. ...
Maren Morris scored a hit out of the box with "My Church," the best of 11 songs on her major label full-length debut. The Texan infuses the song she wrote with uber producer busbee (he's worked with everyone from Keith Urban on "Ripcord" to 5 Seconds of Summer and Shakira and is one of three producers here including Morris) with mighty vocals powering a midtempo, soulful reading extolling the redemptive powers of playing music with the windows rolled down. ...