It’s not that Maren Morris, 33, has tired of twanging guitars or neatly cornered rhymes, both of which define the tunes that came out Friday, a decade after she moved to Nashville from her native Texas, first to write songs for established country acts such as Tim McGraw and later to sign a major-label record deal of her own. Rather, she says she’s leaving because of what she views as the country music industry’s unwillingness to honestly reckon with its history of racism and misogyny and to open its gates to more women and queer people and people of color.
The singer acknowledges that, as a white woman, she’s benefited from the system as it is. Yet Morris, who says, “Allyship begins with waking up from something really comfortable,” has been vocal in her criticisms onstage and on social media, where she tangled last year with country star Jason Aldean and his wife over young people seeking gender-affirming healthcare. The spat even made it to Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, where the right-wing host described Morris as a “lunatic.”