Country Music Roundup: The breakthrough of Maren Morris is upon us

Margo Price set Billboard chart records with her debut, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter,” earlier this year, but could Dallas-born Maren Morris break that record this week? Morris’ breakthrough full-length album, “Hero,” drops this Friday. Last year, the 26-year-old’s self-titled EP peaked at No. 27 on Billboard’s Country Albums chart and sold 2,400 copies in its first week. What’s more, she already boasts a No. 5 charting single in “My Church.”

Singer Maren Morris attends the 2016 iHeartCountry Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on April 30, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Suzanne Cordeiro for American-Statesman

And if that’s not enough, she appears with Dierks Bentley on his new album, “Black.”

However, no matter if Morris breaks Price’s record, 2016 is already shaping up to be a great one for female artists in country music. Loretta Lynn, Cam, Price, the Dixie Chicks, Brandy Clark and Martina McBride have all released new albums, released new songs, started touring again, or some combination of the above. And it’s not even summer yet.

Other New Songs:

Sam Hunt: “Single for the Summer”

Sam Hunt is milking his 2014 debut for all it’s worth. “Single for the Summer” is the sixth single from the 10-track “Montevallo,” and the new video for the song was just released. Like the rest of Hunt’s catalog, it fuses a hip-hop backbeat with pop-country lyrics. In another video, released way back in 2014 when the album came out, Hunt defends his musical choices for this song and the rest of his album.

Gary Allan: “Do You Wish It Was Me?”

It looks like MCA Nashville is slowly working through its backlog. May has seen a new song from Josh Turner and now another new song from Gary Allan. It follows the same pattern I’ve written about before: the new songs from both artists sound like compromises. “Do You Wish It Was Me?” is Allan on autopilot. He’s done this song before, and better: 2003’s “See If I Care” tells the same story, with more emotion.

Country Music Shows This Week:


Americana mainstay Mike Stinson plays the late slot at the White Horse. … Croy & the Boys’ new country series “This Ain’t No Armadillo” at Barracuda welcomes J.D. Clark.


Beat Root Revival, a U.K. roots-music duo who made their new record in Austin, play the happy-hour set at Continental Club, with Wednesday regulars James McMurtry, Jon Dee Graham and William Harries Graham & the Painted Redstarts following.— D.S.S.

The White Horse will feature up-and-comer Sophia Johnson.

The new Grizzly Hall has mostly been booking punk and metal shows, but they go country for a midweek triple bill with Aaron McDonnell & the Neon Eagles, Mayeux & Broussard and the Watters. —D.S.S.


Carson McHone at Shady Grove. Since we profiled McHone in an Austin360/Statesman cover story last summer, the country-folk singer-songwriter’s career has continued to be steadily on the rise. She’s opened for Jerry Jeff Walker at ACL Live, played Auditorium Shores during South by Southwest, and did some spring dates across the Midwest opening for Gary Clark Jr. She’ll play KGSR’s Blues on the Green at Zilker Park in July, but first, she’s doing the station’s more intimate “Unplugged at the Grove” series. Free. 8 p.m. 1624 Barton Springs Road. — P.B.

Americana singer-songwriter Christy Hays will keep the dancers moving at the White Horse.— D.S.S.

This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every Thursday.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: 


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