Be still our hearts, which are still beating right out of our chests over this Maren Morris performance with Brandi Carlile.
The Grammy winners took the stage at Wednesday’s (Oct. 17) 2018 Artists of the Year ceremonies to honor the one and only Queen of Soul, the late great Aretha Franklin, with an introduction by Motown legend Smokey Robinson.
Dressed to the nines in a hot pink suit and Gucci, respectively, Morris and Carlile delivered an earth-shattering performance of the iconic hit, “(You Make Me Feel Like) Natural Woman,” to thunderous applause at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Morris has covered the song regularly on tour since Franklin’s passing this year. During a recent chat with CMT.com, the superstar cited the tune’s writer, the legendary Carole King, as one of her greatest songwriting influences.
For Morris, the song was and still is a moment in music history like no other, proven by time and time again by each performance, including the now iconic moment Franklin delivered the song to a packed house at the Kennedy Center in to honor King’s induction at the Kennedy Center Honors.
“When Aretha passed, I remember seeing that video from the Kennedy Center from a couple years ago, where Aretha was honoring Carole,” she told CMT.com.
“Just the power this woman had in these really tumultuous racially tense times, gave this R&B singer one of the biggest songs of her entire career. And it just didn’t matter the color of anyone’s skin, or their sex for that matter. They panned the camera to Barack Obama who was crying at ‘Natural Woman’ because it hits all of us. We all have mothers, wives, and sisters.”
Carlile never ceases to deliver chills with her powerhouse vocals and deep soul, and the pairing tonight was picture perfect. We want and need to see more of her in the mainstream country world.
Morris will join Carlile for her Girls Just Wanna Weekend, a festival of female empowerment featuring all-women acts for three days of music in Mexico, with the Indigo Girls, Margo Price, Patty Griffin, Lucius, KT Tunstall, The Secret Sisters and Ruby Amanfu also headlining.
In an open letter to fans on the festival’s website, Carlile wrote, “Mainstream festivals in the U.S. habitually exclude women as headline artists equal to me. I was brought up by Lilith Fair to believe that men and women enjoy live music equally and that women can not only headline a festival — they can BE a festival. I’m proud to announce that our festival has an ALL female fronted lineup.”
As for Morris’ comments during the actual evening, well, watch for yourself and be moved.