Maren Morris: Proud to Be the “Squeaky Wheel” for Women in Country

What is that famous Alicia Keys lyric: “this girl is on fire?”

Well, last night (Mar. 13,) Keys’ CMT Crossroads partner Maren Morris was a girl on fire at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

The Grammy winner’s GIRL: The World Tour made a pitstop in her home city of Nashville for a sold-out show at the Mother Church of country music, and brought a night of true joy, sass, harmony and all the female empowerment you could ever want, including a promise to never quit fighting for and with her sisters in arms.

During her set last night, the “Girl” singer addressed the audience quite candidly on several occasions, but one declaration stood out from the others: her commitment to the cause of bringing more women to country radio.

Citing all of her “badass” friends and so many other women that more than deserve airplay, she promised the crowd, “I’m just gonna keep being the squeaky wheel until I get some grease.”

And this tour is another example of her commitment to being an advocate for her peers.

Cassadee Pope, one of Morris’ BFFs, opened the show with a knockout set of new material and old favorites and of course, some serious style. The vocal powerhouse and CMT on Tour headliner told the crowd, “Tomorrow, when people asked me I did today, I’ll be able to say, ’I woke up, had my coffee, went to Pilates, walked my dogs, and played the freakin’ Ryman.”

Morris’ other BFF and fellow Highwoman, Grammy-winner Brandi Carlile, surprised the crowd when she appeared to perform her duet “Common,” from Morris’ new album. The crowd absolutely lost it when the two began–can you blame them?

Miranda Lambert and Natalie Hemby also made a surprise appearance, performing the deep cut “Virginia Bluebell” and “I Wish I Was,” in pitch-perfect three-part harmony, recalling the glory days of the trio of Emmylou Harris, Dolly, and Linda Ronstadt.

And all the girls came back for the song that started it all: “My Church.”

For Morris, the entire night was rooted in excitement and a warranted dose of nostalgia, too.

“Three years ago I opened for Chris Stapleton,” she told the crowd.

“I remember that feeling monumental because my parents got to come up. It was my first Ryman set. . . to think about all the things that have transpired since then is pretty freaking bizarre and surreal,” she said.

“I used to drive up and down these two blocks here in Nashville–Music Row,” she continued. “That’s where I’d write songs and that’s where I met most of my friends. . . I just really never thought it would lead me here to be an artist and to play shows like this where so much of it is something I’ve thought up or I’ve entrusted someone that’s creative to think up for you and make this such a unique experience.”

“Because you really only get to do your big ass headline, first headline show once,” she told them to deafening cheers.

If you weren’t able to get a ticket for last night, fret not: Morris announced onstage that she would be headlining Nashville’s Ascend Amphitheater on Oct. 18 of this year.

Enjoy these photos from the incredible evening:

  1. Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images

  2. Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images

    Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images

    Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images

    Danielle Del Valle/Getty Images
Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.