Maren Morris launched the second date of her Girl: The World Tour at Nashville’s revered Ryman Auditorium on Wednesday evening (March 13), and it was a show not to be missed with surprise guests Miranda Lambert, Brandi Carlile, songwriter Natalie Hemby and opener Cassadee Pope.
Halfway into her 90-minute set, two additional microphones were placed on the stage beside Morris as she told the crowd, “If you didn’t know, I’m from Texas.” She then invited fellow Texan Lambert and Hemby to join her on stage.
“So this is a straight-up deep cut that I loved on your record,” Morris told Lambert. “All my dreams are coming true right now because I’m obsessed with this song and the women who wrote it. We’re going to play a little stripped down version of ‘Virginia Bluebell.’”
The song is featured on Lambert’s 2009 album Revolution and the singer was equally excited to perform the track. “Maren is the best. She asked us to sing a deep cut!” Lambert marveled.
Lambert kicked off the song as Morris and Hemby stood beside her on the stage, later trading verses. One song wasn’t enough for the trio and the audience screamed when Morris asked if they should sing another track.
“I mean, this is the girl tour,” Morris added. “The first time I ever sung with Miranda, we were at City Winery and I sang this song and you jumped right in, which was so cool,” Morris recalled of performing “I Wish I Was,” which she penned with Hemby and now-husband Ryan Hurd and is featured on her 2016 debut album Hero. “I love Maren Morris. She’s a badass,” Lambert told the crowd before the three women launched into the track.
Morris proved her deserving headlining status throughout the entirety of her set at Ryman Auditorium. Early into her performance she brought out collaborator Carlile on the stirring power ballad “Common” as well as opener Pope for the feel-good “All My Favorite People,” both from her latest album Girl. A show filled with surprises, sass and a dose of honesty, the singer discussed her journey and why she’ll continue to speak out about the lack of female voices on country radio.
“I feel very reflective right now because I can see your faces and it’s so intimate and it just reminds me that I’m a songwriter first. I remember my first No. 1. It was last year. I remember there was this guy who worked for a radio station, he said that people don’t want to hear women being sad on the radio,” she recalled as a collective “boo” was heard throughout the venue. “I was like, ‘I’m pretty sure sad songs are what make the world go round and built country music.’ What’s wrong with being sad? I want to know that I’m not alone in my broken heart.”
Morris decided to release “I Could Use a Love Song” to country radio anyway. It took 42 weeks to climb the charts and hit No. 1. She added, “This is my original No. 1 song and that guy doesn’t have a job anymore. The universe is funny in a way.”
Wednesday evening marked Morris’ first time headlining Ryman Auditorium and she let fans know that following her sold-out show she’ll be returning to Nashville on Oct. 18 to perform at the city’s Ascend Amphitheater. Once again reflecting on the memorable evening, she promised to continue to be a voice for women at country radio.
“This is really the most magical night. I’ve been through years and years of ups and downs. I’ve learned so much about myself; what I can withstand and what I can take and what I can’t take. 2019, I have a feeling in my bones, that this is going to be a turning point for the key people: women,” she conceded. “I’ve been very fortunate to have my songs played on the radio in the last couple of years but I also know so many of my friends who are badasses deserve to be on there are not. I’m just going to be the squeaky wheel.”
And with that final message of female empowerment and inclusivity, all her girlfriends rejoined her on stage for an inspiring final collaboration of “My Church” in the Mother Church of Country Music.