I don’t know much about Maren Morris, save for her being a 25 year old Texan born, Nashville resident who has writing credits on Kelly Clarkson’s album Piece By Piece, Tim McGraw’s Sundown Heaven and Lucie Silvas’ Letters to Ghosts. After her self-titled EP was released on Friday, I quickly came to discover that not only is Morris a sought after songwriter but also is a vocal force to be reckoned with: intertwining pop, country and blues into her personal repertoire of songs makes for an eclectic but seamlessly authentic EP.
The much talked about song ‘My Church’, is Morris’ take on an alternative way of going to church on a Sunday; listening to the country greats on her car’s stereo. The song begins with acoustic guitar and handclaps before it surges like a gospel choir into the powerful and soulful chorus, which really is the stand out of the track, and perhaps the whole EP. It’s surges through you on the first listen, making the hairs on the back your neck stand up on end whilst at the same time making you want shout the words, “Yeah, I guess that’s my church”, from the rooftops as if your life depended on it.
“Can I get a hallelujah?/Can I get an amen?/It feels like the holy ghost runnin’ through ya/When I play the highway FM, I find my soul revival/Singin every single verse, Yeah, I guess that’s my church.”
On the one hand, the song is reminiscing the old country tunes of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash but on the other hand, it is speaking to that spirituality and peace that only music can truly bring.
‘I Wish I Was’ is a stand out track for me of the EP, particularly the opening verse, which shows Morris’ vocals at her best: bluesy, soulful and vulnerable, with her telling her lover that though they should be perfect together, she just doesn’t love him.
“On paper we go together/I know that we look the part/But almost never hangs on forever/I know I’m breaking your heart.”
The organic instrumentation; the heartbeat bass line and electric guitar, wrap themselves around her words and vocals allowing the song to gently seep into your consciousness.
The closing track, ‘Company You Keep’ is one reaffirming that it really isn’t about where you go on holiday or what you do for your birthday but who your friends are. The distorted guitars, drums and Morris’ clever lyricism gives the song an upbeat, happy go lucky vibe.
“But when I’m sitting on the couch/Looking at the pictures/The background is only a secondary fixture/Where we went for dinner/Shoot, I don’t’ remember/ But we had a good time.”
When you think all the good music had been released this year and then you stumble onto Maren Morris’, it is a breath of fresh air. The EP is not one thing; it’s country, pop, R’n’B, gospel, blues and little of bit hip-hop but it’s all brought together by Maren’s simple, honest and spunky songwriting, and her soul tinged vocals. If this EP is anything to go by then Morris’ full length album is something to look forward too.