There was no rest for Nashville’s Music Row community following Sunday’s (April 2) ACM Awards.
As soon as the last flight landed from Las Vegas, there was barely time to unpack before the community’s next round of music adventures. The fun continued with Wednesday’s (April 5) 2017 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee announcement, Maren Morris’ Hero Tour closer and Chris Stapleton’s private album preview of his forthcoming two-part collection From A Room: Volume 1. A Volume 2 is expected later this year.
At the Cannery Ballroom, Morris showed her sold-out audience how it’s done on the final night of her Hero tour. She commanded the stage from note one, playing most the Hero album in track order with the addition of new bonus songs “Bummin’ Cigarettes” and “Space.” She let the audience have a verse on “Rich” and became genuinely moved when they sang every word.
During her encore, she and boyfriend Ryan Hurd were pure power as they delivered a surprise collaboration of Tim McGraw’s “Last Turn Home.” The song was Morris’ first major cut as a songwriter on 2014’s Sundown Heaven Town. Then she asked Hurd to stay onstage as she welcomed Brothers Osborne’s TJ and John Osborne to join them for “Greener Pastures” from the duo’s 2016’s Pawn Shop album. Apparently, Morris came up with the initial idea for the song, but exchanging lead vocals with TJ together as new ACM-winning acts gave the stoner anthem a whole new twist.
Before leaving the stage, she mentioned plans to take at least a week off to rest and get ready to start writing for a sophomore album. She also shared insightful words of wisdom for aspiring creatives in the audience who moved to Nashville for music.
“As a songwriter in this town,” she said, “it’s the most wonderful town to be a sponge and learn from the most incredible people that write here.
“I get asked a lot, ’How did you make this happen?’ And it’s a very loaded answer, but, I would just say, be humble, be real, be authentic and don’t be afraid to be different and just be a nice person and wait your turn. Just be patient because there are a lot of talented people here and there really is room for everybody.”
Rising artist Devin Dawson opened with 30 minutes of pop-country, including “Symptoms,” “Second to Last” and his breakout single “All on Me.” He later rejoined Morris onstage to sing her friends anthem “Company You Keep.”
The next big concert in town for Nashville’s country community is Thursday’s (April 6) “Sing Me Back Home: The Music of Merle Haggard: tribute at the Bridgestone Arena. The event falls on what would have been the Hag’s 80th birthday and marks the first anniversary of his death.