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Sound Advice: Maren Morris is Breaking Out Some Deep Cuts at Upcoming Cincinnati Show | Music Feature | Cincinnati

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Photo: Jamie Nelson

Maren Morris

A lot has happened since Maren Morris last released an album, 2019’s GIRL. Like artists everywhere, the genre-jumping singer-songwriter put her career on hold when the pandemic hit in March 2020, including freshly minted side project The Highwomen, a fruitful collaboration with Brandi Carlile, Natalie Hemby and Amanda Shires. Then, just weeks later, she delivered her first child, a difficult birth that left the now-32-year-old Texas native suffering from postpartum depression.

The experience couldn’t help but find its way into Morris’ recently released third major-label effort, Humble Quest, which is heavy on introspection without wallowing in self-pity. The sleek 11-song set mixes traditional country with elements of pop, rock and R&B courtesy of producer du jour Greg Kurstin, whose extensive resume includes work with artists as diverse as Devo and The Shins to Pink and Kelly Clarkson.

The title track opens with this admission: “Haven’t looked up in a while/Been bitin’ my tongue behind a smile” before a chorus of “I’m on a humble quest/And damn, I do my best/Not gonna hold my breath/’Cause I still haven’t found it yet.”

“Humble” seems to be front of mind for Morris’ these days.

“It fascinated me that I had such a complicated relationship with that word, and I wanted to dive deeper into why,” Morris said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair. “We’re just so exposed to our own criticisms in social media and all of that. So, I was starting to wonder after what I’ve achieved in two records, am I still down to earth?”

The nationwide “Humble Quest Tour,” which opened this month and runs through October, will be heavy on new songs, but Morris promises an acoustic set to, per a TikTok post, “break out some older stuff & deep cuts.”

Maren Morris will play the ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park at 8 p.m. June 25. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Brent Cobb will open the show. There are no COVID-19 requirements. Info: bradymusiccenter.com. 

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