Maren Morris says she’s quitting country music, blames Trump-era culture wars | Albiseyler

Maren Morris says she's quitting country music, blames Trump-era culture wars

Grammy Award-winning country singer Maren Morris thinks country music burned out on its own, and she has no plans to let it go.

Morris announced her departure from the country music genre in Los Angeles Times interview last week he lamented the industry’s failure to face up to its role as a “weapon in the culture wars”. The Nashville musician reflected on her departure on “The Bridge,” a new two-song EP marking her move to Columbia Records from the label’s Sony Nashville division.

“The rot at the root is the root of the problem, but you want to blame it on me,” Morris sings on “The Tree,” a song reflecting her frustration with the values ​​held by some parts of the country music community. In the song’s music video, he sets fire to a tree and walks away as ash rains down on a toy version of a small town.

“After the Trump years, people’s prejudices have been on full display,” Morris told the LA Times. “They were proud to be misogynistic and racist and homophobic and transphobic. All of these things were celebrated and it fit strangely into this hyper-masculine branch of country music.”

Morris has been embroiled in several of what she described as country music “culture wars.” Last year, she was called a “country music freak” by former Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson when she criticized country singer Jason Aldean’s wife’s anti-transgender remarks. Morris printed the nickname on T-shirts to raise more than $100,000 for transgender youth in response.

The small town shown in the music video for “The Tree” may be a reference to Jason Aldean’s #1 Billboard hit “Try That in a Small Town”. Morris said the song is being aired to spite those hoping to “own the libs”.

According to The Economist, 36 percent of Spotify’s top 50 songs in America in 2023 were country, up from 2 percent in 2016. “Try That in a Small Town” has been streamed more than 30 million times on the service.

Aldean’s viral hit has come under fire online for what some see as promoting racism and violence. His music video caused an uproar for featuring a courthouse in Tennessee where a teenager was lynched in the 1920s. Several Republican politicians — including presidential hopeful Donald Trump and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — responded by publicly endorsing Aldean. At the concert, Aldean told fans that the message of his song is really about community.

Morris considered a skip 2022 Country Music Association Awards due to Aldean controversy.

This is not the first time Morris has criticized country music’s relationship to political issues. In January she has apologized for the country music industry’s contentious relationship with the LGBTQ+ community in an episode of “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” In 2021, she spoke out when country singer Morgan Wallen was caught drunk with a racial slur. Wallen’s 2023 album “One Thing at a Time” held the top spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart for 15 weeks.

“If you really love this type of music and you start to see problems, it needs to be criticized,” Morris said in an interview with the LA Times. “Anything that popular should be researched if we want to see progress.”

Morris’s claims about the weaponization of country music echo similar comments made by country chart-topper Oliver Anthony, whose song “Rich Men North of Richmond” has become an anthem for the political right. Several Republican politicians have heralded the song, and it was even a topic of discussion at a GOP presidential debate. Anthony called the dialogue “aggravating” and said he regretted that his song was “weaponised”.

Several country music stars responded to Morris’ passing with support, including Lindsey Ell, Sam Hunt and Grammy Award winner Carly Pearce. Pearce said Entertainment Tonight Canada that Morris must “follow his truth” and believes he will find what he is looking for.

Now Morris is working on his next LP with pop producer Jack Antonoff, who has helped country musicians rebrand in the past. In 2020, Antonoff produced The Chicks’ album “Gaslighter”, the group’s first album since removing “Dixie” from the title due to negative connotations with slavery.

Morris told the LA Times that she intends to spend less time thinking about whether her songs will sell well in the country music universe and just focus on making good music.

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