Maren Morris’ relationship with Country Music Inc. would make a heckuva Honky-tonk ballad.
Lots of fussin’ and feudin’ en route to a nasty split.
The Grammy-winner thrived in the genre, but last year she began sharing concerns about the industry and its culture.
“I’d really like to thank my parents for not changing my gender when I went through my tomboy phase. I love this girly life,” Brittany Aldean wrote on social media, alluding to pre-teens transitioning to a different sex.
That disagreement lit a fuse within the singer-songwriter.
"So many people I love will be in that room, and maybe I'll make a game-time decision and go," Morris said at the time about the 2022 CMA awards, which she ultimately attended.
"But as of right now, I don't feel comfortable going. I think I was sadder going last year. Some nights are fun. Others, I'm just crawling out of my skin. I'm not good at those events because I'm awkward. But this time, I kind of feel peaceful at the notion of not going."
Now, Morris is making the artistic divorce official. She blasted the genre in a wide-ranging L.A. Times interview, suggesting her former industry is in its death throes.
Morris, a Texan who is teaming with notable pop producer Jack Antonoff to make new music, says country circa 2023 needs to be criticized over its lack of diversity and related social ills.
She has been one of the more politically “woke” singers on the scene, a celebrated artist who routinely speaks out on social issues, which has put her at odds with a genre she called home for a decade.
“I thought I’d like to burn [country music] to the ground and start over," she recently said. "But it’s burning itself down without my help.”
Her timing could not be more off.
"It’s a good time to be a country music artist," Billboard magazine recently noted.
This year has, in fact, been exceptional for country music.
From Morgan Wallen to Luke Combs, Zach Bryan, Oliver Anthony and more, country acts are reaching historic highs across Billboard magazine charts – including, most notably, on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 songs chart.
Billboard last month also reported country music consumption in the United States increased by 20.3% year-over-year in the first 26 weeks of 2023, based on information from Luminatedata.com, which tracks entertainment industry data,
Wallen survived a sustained Cancel Culture attack following his use of the “n-word” (not against a person of color) last year to dominate the music world. His “One Thing at a Time” release spent 12 straight weeks atop Billboard’s album charts.
Weeks ago, three country songs dominated the Billboard music charts for the first time in the organization’s history.
- Jason Aldean – “Try That in a Small Town”
- Morgan Wallen – “Last Night”
- Luke Combs – “Fast Car”
The latter is Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s enigmatic ‘80s smash. The Washington Post generated social media ridicule when it suggested Chapman, a black lesbian, wouldn’t be welcome in country circles.
Anthony’s song “Rich Men North of Richmond” that criticizes the political status quo made him a literal overnight sensation. The country crooner’s blue-collar anthem rocketed up the singles’ chart, and several other Anthony originals kept it company.
Morris is only 33 but already boasts a formidable resume, from major industry honors (Grammy, CMT Awards) to high-profile collaborations with Taylor Swift, Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert.