SXSW Music Festival

South X Lullaby: Maren Morris

On a flight of mottled concrete steps by Waller Creek in Austin, Maren Morris flipped the break-up song on its head. Born in Texas, she moved to Nashville to be a songwriter, and her southern roots and songwriter's sensibility shone brightly, even in the dimming Austin night. "I Wish I Was" holds within it a pop songwriting trifecta — a powerful, identity-based thematic hook, a catchy chorus and an easy, soulful voice to deliver it all. Morris sings as the heartbreaker, letting her lover down as easily as she can and feeling regret not of a missing love but of missed expectations. For a singer who is primed to make it big in popular country radio, Morris' music strips down awfully nicely. Songs like "I Wish I Was" already make it amply clear that she's far more than her first hit, "My Church." Whether compressed through your car radio speakers or drifting over Waller Creek, Morris' voice rings true.

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