It had been quite the week for Maren Morris: Four days before the 26-year-old strolled into NPR's offices, she'd pulled off a mighty duet with Alicia Keys during the 59th annual Grammys ceremony and taken home the evening's award for Best Country Solo Performance. It's no secret the Nashville songwriter-turned-performer has star power; her limber voice and the big, crossover-friendly gestures on her major-label debut, Hero, let her easily dominate a huge stage like the Grammys'.
Our small stage suited Morris and her songs just as well. She's cultivated a soulful, irreverent pop-country aesthetic that trades in trucks, bros and beer for a vintage Mercedes, female friendships and boxed wine — and which owes much of its charm to details that shine in a stripped-down setting. Take, for instance, the cash-register ka-ching that punctuates the chorus of the oh-so-sick burn "Rich," or the intimate, after-hours raggedness in her voice as she sings of jaded heartache in "I Could Use A Love Song."
Between songs, Morris kept up a friendly banter with the audience on the other side of the desk — even shouting out Tiny Desk alumnus Anderson .Paak, who'd also been part of a memorable performance at the Grammys. By the time she got to "My Church" — the radio megahit that had earned her that golden gramophone, performed here in a dazzlingly pure three-part harmony — everybody was part of her congregation.
Download and stream Maren Morris's album HERO. (Download) (Spotify)
- "I Could Use A Love Song"
- "My Church"
Maren Morris (vocals, guitar); Bennett Lewis (guitar, vocals); Annie Clements (bass, vocals)
Producers: Bob Boilen, Rachel Horn, Niki Walker; Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Niki Walker, Morgan Noelle Smith; Editor: Morgan Noelle Smith; Production Assistant: A Noah Harrison; Photo: Claire Harbage/NPR.
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