Album Reviews

Maren Morris – Humble Quest – Album Review

Maren Morris doesn’t hold back with her music, she puts out the music she wants to, the music she feels in the moment, the music that stays true to her stylings and who she is. It wouldn’t really work if she didn’t. Some of the things that fans love so much about Maren are her honesty, her confidence and her no bulls*** attitude and it’s these traits that reflect in both her music and her fans because she inspires confidence in people, inspires fans to be who they are and not give a damn about it. We read this time and time again on socials from fans and it’s a wonderful thing.

Humble Quest is quite the musical masterpiece. Sonically the album blends some beautiful traditional tracks with some that have a more modern take. Maren’s vocals are always on point and her distinctive, Jazzy, soulful tone is divine. On this album Maren’s vocals seem a lot more raw. The vocal passion in the songs are so much more authentic and have so much more depth. Lyrically, this album speaks of many new feelings and emotions for Maren such as motherhood, losing her close friend and producer Busbee, her love for husband Ryan Hurd and more.

The album kicks off with lead single Circles Around This Town. Written with Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels and Jimmy Robbins this song is any making it in music city. A good song but not our favourite.

There are so many early favourites already though such as The Furthest Thing. Written with her husband Ryan Hurd and producer Greg Kurstin, this songs speaks of being away from each other so often but being so understanding about it all.

Distance makes the heart grow stranger

But when the stars go out of view

Somethin’ in the universe pulls me back to you

The distance makes the heart grow stranger

When the stars go out of view

Something in the universe pulls me back to you

This songs beauty is that of soulful harmonies and a simple yet satisfying melody. Maren’s voice is also very melodic in this song. This track acoustic would be insane. It’s one of those songs that flows through you so freely.

Background Music. This song grabs your attention immediately with its breathtaking melody and it is instrumental heaven. Written by Maren Morris and long time writing collaborators Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz (I Could Use A Love Song) this song speaks of leaving behind a legacy. A slight hint of Mazzy Star it feels like one of those cinematic songs at the end credits of a film. This song would be a very impactful moment in a live show.

We’ve got time but we’re only human / Call it forever but we know that there’s an end to it / You and I can dance our way through it / And I’ll love you ’til all that we are is background music

Maren produces some of the most gorgeous and soulful ballads in country music and the sounds of Texas country that are quite prominent in some of these tracks are just completely sensational. Detour and Hummingbird are two other stunning ballads that truly stand out. Hummingbird is perfect in its simplicity and its acoustic sounds and the pedal steel guitar really go through you. Beautiful harmonies and a strong folk feel to it, Hummingbird is a song that echoes in acoustic. Reminiscent to The Civil Wars – It’s songs like this that make me want to go to a stripped back show of Maren’s as well as a full on, full band show. Written with some of our favourites The Love Junkies (Hillary Lindsay, Liz Rose and Lori McKenna) this song is about what being a mother meant to Maren. Her son can even be heard on the beginning of the track.

Detour is another stunning anthem with a traditional country and folk edge and is one of those songs you play on a long journey with the windows down and feeling the breeze. It’s so wonderfully emotive.

More traditional sounds come from the fabulous I Can’t Love You Anymore. Instrumentally delicious in those traditional country instruments this song will challenge anyone who says Maren isn’t country.

Title track Humble Quest is a powerful anthem. Written with Jimmy Robbins and Laura Veltz

Of the song Maren says There’s just something in me that is always trying to pay my dues and not cut in line, so to speak. Especially for women in country music, the word humble is thrown around a lot. If you start to believe in your own self and success, and even feel prideful in it, you’re starting to lose your roots and where you came from. And it’s almost used as a ceiling.

Nervous brings a more rockier edge to Maren’s sound and it suits her very well. Maren is one of those artists so diverse that she could suit almost any genre.

Tall Guys should be obvious who it is about. A very Marenesque song, Tall Guys is fun and uplifting.

Good Friends is like the All My Favourite People off the album. It has a nice steady rhythm that’s quite chilled and a great R&B, Jazzy vibe about it.

What Would This World Do? A gorgeous piano driven ballad which is the perfect close to a sensational album. This song is emotionally breathtaking and is full of so much love and passion and very believable in its words. A song for her late friend and producer on her previous albums Busbee, this song was written with Ryan Hurd and Jon Green.

Humble Quest is an astonishing piece of art with pure, authentic lyrics and rootsy, traditional, rocky sounds. Humble Quest is a strong contender of our album of the year and quite possibly a Grammy for Album of the Year.

1. Circles Around This Town

Maren Morris/Ryan Hurd/Julia Michaels/Jimmy Robbins

 

2. The Furthest Thing

Maren Morris/Ryan Hurd/Greg Kurstin

 

3. I Can’t Love You Anymore

Maren Morris/Ryan Hurd/Greg Kurstin

 

4. Humble Quest

Maren Morris/Jimmy Robbins/Laura Veltz

 

5. Background Music

Maren Morris/Jimmy Robbins/Laura Veltz

 

6. Nervous

Maren Morris/Natalie Hemby/Jimmy Robbins

 

7. Tall Guys

Maren Morris/Natalie Hemby/Aaron Raitiere 

 

8. Detour

Maren Morris/Sarah Aarons/Greg Kurstin/Laura Veltz

 

9. Hummingbird

Maren Morris/Hillary Lindsey/Lori McKenna/Liz Rose

 

10. Good Friends

Maren Morris/Natalie Hemby/Greg Kurstin 

 

11. What Would This World Do?

Maren Morris/Jon Green/Ryan Hurd

 

Maren Morris – Vocals

Ryan Hurd – Background Vocals

Greg Kurstin – Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Piano, Keyboards, Wurlitzer, Rhodes, B-3 Organ

Bennett Lewis – Dobro, Mandolin

Rich Hinman – Pedal Steel Guitar

About Humble Quest

Maren began writing the songs on Humble Quest in the beginning of the pandemic as a series of major life changes unfolded—new motherhood, an upended career, the death of beloved friend and collaborator Michael Busbee and more, further compounded by lockdown. She felt control over life quickly slipping until she had a freeing realization—she was never in control in the first place. It’s from this place of personal truth and clarity amid darkness that Maren’s most genuine songs yet began to flow, creating an important distraction from the times rather than a snapshot of them.

Maren found herself reckoning with humility in ways she’d never imagined as she thought about how the goal of appearing humble puts artists, especially women, in a box with unrealistic demands to keep them small. Humble Quest documents Maren’s journey to redefining humility on her own terms as a grounded state of understanding one’s own truth rather than the capacity to appear authentic to others.

Produced by frequent collaborator Greg Kurstin (Adele, Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters) and written alongside her husband Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels, Jimmy Robbins, Natalie Hemby, Laura Veltz and Jon Green on Busbee’s piano, Humble Quest finds Maren on a journey to embrace the imperfections in her life through snapshots of her rises and falls, overshares, lullabies, wine-soaked conversations with one old friend and a final goodbye to another one. “Am I humble enough now?” Maren asks herself sometimes. “Maybe. Or maybe I still haven’t found it yet. Or maybe, who cares as long as your friends and, most importantly, you know what your heart is all about? But here’s to taking the quest to find out.”

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