By KRISTIN M. HALL AP Entertainment Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Grammy-winning country star Maren Morris was on turbo speed after her first two records, scoring multi-platinum hits and crossover success with songs like “The Middle” and “The Bones.”
But as she heads back on tour after an extended break due to the COVID-19 pandemic and becoming a mother, she’s just not ready for arenas, even if she’s likely to sell out.
“My outlook and strategy from the get-go, even with my first record, was like, do the underplay as long as you can and not overshoot too quickly,” Morris said. “I still, in some weird way, always feel like I’m wanting to pay my dues.”
In support of her upcoming third major label album “Humble Quest” out March 25, the Arlington, Texas, native is heading out in June on a 41-date tour of mostly amphitheaters, wrapping with a final arena show in Nashville, Tennessee, in December. Tickets are on sale Friday on her website.
“I wanted to do amphitheaters because we were already naturally moving into that venue size,” said the singer-songwriter who is nominated for two Grammys this year. “This album felt very outdoorsy, like I wanted to be able to play these songs in the elements.”
Starting with her major label debut in 2016 with “Hero,” Morris broke through with her Grammy-winning hit “My Church,” blending sultry R&B and pop hooks into her vocal style. She’s collaborated with Zedd, Niall Horan, Taylor Swift and John Mayer and is a member of the country group The Highwomen with Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby.
The tour, which will hit cities like Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle and Los Angeles, will include opening acts Brent Cobb, Ruston Kelly, Lone Bellow and Brittney Spencer, as well as her songwriting collaborators Hemby and Joy Oladokun.
“It’s a nice rotation of friends, but also if my fans don’t know their music, I feel like they’re going to be huge fans leaving the show,” said Morris.