Black Music Matters Festival

Morris debuts; Pope, Dan + Shay out with new music

Friday, June 3, 2016 – Maren Morris has enjoyed big hit with big-voiced "My Church" and now the Texas native releases "Hero," her major label debut on Sony Nashville. Morris, who previously released three CDs and an EP, put 11 songs on the regular version. A Target deluxe CD includes three extra songs. Four of the songs were on an EP put out November 2015. "80's Mercedes" will be the second single from the album. Morris had a hand in writing every song, which incudes material with soulful and reggae beats.

Cassadee Pope has enjoyed a hit single by singing with Chris Young on "Think of You." Now, Pope is out with a four-song EP, "Summer." Pope helped pen three of the songs, including the current single, "Summer."

Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney) release their second pop country disc today, "Obsessed." "From the Ground Up" is the lead single and was written by the duo with Chris DeStefano. Smyers produced 7 of the 10 songs with Scott Hendricks. Dan + Shay enjoyed success on their debut, "Where It All Began," with "19 You + Me" and "Nothin' Like You." The lead-off song on "Obsessed," "All Nighter," previously was released by Lady Antebellum on a deluxe version of "747."

Craig Morgan returns with "A Whole Lot More to Me," his first disc of new material in more than four years. Morgan co-produced the dozen-song set with Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill). Morgan's last CD was "This Ole Boy" in 2011.

The Lonely Heartstring Band makes its debut with "Deep Waters" on Rounder. The Boston-based modern bluegrass quintet is comprised of Charles Clements (bass and vocals), George Clements (guitar and lead vocals), Gabe Hirshfeld (banjo), Patrick M'Gonigle (fiddle, vocals) and Matt Witler (mandolin). The band and David Travers-Smith, co-produced with Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Sarah Jarosz) on a cover of Paul Simon's "Graceland" and "The Road's Salvation."

Sister Sadie, a bluegrass female quintet, is out with its debut on Pinecastle. Dale Ann Bradley, Tina Adair, Gena Britt, Beth Lawrence and Deanie Richardson comprise the band. Bradley is a five-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year.

Bluegrass band The Farm Hands keep true to their roots on "Dig in the Dirt," out on Pinecastle. The quartet includes Tim Graves and Daryl Mosley.

Bryan Sutton, who has extensive work as a session player and also a member of Hot Rize, is out with his sixth solo disc, "The More I Learn," on Sugar Hill. The disc was produced and recorded at Zac Brown's Southern Ground studio in Nashville, by Brandon Bell (Dierks Bentley, Sarah Jarosz). Noam Pikelny and Chris Eldridge play on the release.

The Small Glories, a Canadian duo comprised of Cara Luft and JD Edwards, mines folk and roots sounds on their debut. These are not newcomers, however, as Luft was a founding member of The Wailin' Jennys, and Edwards has been leading a band for 10 years.

More news for Maren Morris

CD reviews for Maren Morris

GIRL CD review - GIRL
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. »»»
Hero CD review - Hero
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. »»»
Maren Morris CD review - Maren Morris
After going the indie route in her native Texas, Maren Morris releases a five-song EP to serve as an intro for the hoped for masses. Morris, who has penned songs for Tim McGraw and Kelly Clarkson, starts off with the edgier sounding "My Church." With an easy-going pace, Morris is elastic with her words, puts a bit of twang and gospel feel into her delivery and sings with authority when she asks "Can I get a hallelujah?/Can I get an amen?" But her salvation is FM radio - »»»