Country music’s newest “it” girl has interesting things to say about God, cars and self-loathing, but she still has dues to pay.
Her name is Maren Morris, and when the 25-year-old performs at the Fillmore Silver Spring on Feb. 12, she’ll be opening for a stacked bill featuring Kelsea Ballerini, Craig Morgan, Easton Corbin, Granger Smith and Maryland’s own Brothers Osborne.
But will anyone on the marquee be able to sing a tune that eclipses Morris’s “My Church”?
That’s the God song, obviously, and her first radio single — a cool wallop about skipping Sunday services for an afternoon spent seeking grace on the FM dial. “I find holy redemption when I put this car in drive,” Morris sings, later citing the salvation offered in the songbooks of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash. “Yeah, I guess that’s my church,” she decides in the refrain. If anything, it’s a handy tune to help explain your quasi-atheism to loved ones, or maybe even to yourself.
Morris’s second-best song takes place inside a car, too. Namely, a vintage luxury sedan coasting off into an Instagram-filtered sunset.
Without making too much of a fuss about it, “80’s Mercedes” presents itself as a distinct alternative to all of those worn-out country hits about boys and their pickups, splashing around in the mud. “80’s Mercedes” has the cleanliness of a top-40 pop single, too, with Morris singing in the overlapping shadows of Taylor Swift, Kacey Musgraves and Lana Del Rey.
And finally, that self-loathing song. “I Wish I Was” is the breakup ballad that gives Morris’s recent self-titled EP its depth, as well as its firmness: Morris is the one who’s calling it off, and she wants to end the messiness with a clean break. “So go on, hate me if you have to,” she sings. “I hate myself, too.” These are hard words to get out, but she maintains complete composure.
All of which suggests that Morris certainly has lots more to say. Hopefully, she’ll get enough time on that Fillmore stage to say it.
Five more shows to catch:
You’ll want to pay close attention to the passionate Rhode Island punk band Downtown Boys — even between songs when the political speechifying of singer Victoria Ruiz threatens to become a wild music of its own.
Feb. 26 at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490. blackcatdc.com.
Last year, Atlanta rapper Future reached his highest highs by moaning about his lowest lows. From the sound of “Purple Reign,” his first mixtape of 2016, he’s still down but not out.
Feb. 29 at 8 p.m. at the Fillmore Silver Spring,
8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. 301-960-9999. fillmoresilverspring.com.
Rarely does the righteous bombast of an AC/DC riff ask us to ponder our mortality. But the question must be asked: How many more times will we get to see this band perform live?
March 17 at 8 p.m. at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 202-628-3200. verizoncenter.com.
Rihanna, one of the most beguiling pop singers of our era, returns to fill our stadiums with her colossal charisma — and with music from her eighth album, “Anti.”
March 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 202-628-3200. verizoncenter.com.
In this modern world of convenience and comfort, we occasionally crave music that offers the opposite — severe, abrasive stuff that dizzies, disorients, maybe even hurts. Napalm Death, the Melvins and Melt-Banana are three veteran bands that, after decades of grinding on the fringes, are still eager to bring the pain.
April 12 at the 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. 930.com.
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