Maren Morris performs onstage during day one of the Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival on September 25, 2021 in Franklin, Tennessee.
Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

12 Songs That Showcase Maren Morris as a Master of Country Storytelling

Maren Morris is among the most popular country artists of the past 10 years. She skyrocketed to the top in 2015 and continues inspiring fans all over the world while striking a delicate balance between singer-songwriter lyricism and crossover pop accessibility.

Morris grew up in Arlington, Texas and immediately fell in love with music when her father got her a guitar at age 12. When she was 15, Morris released her pre-fame debut album, Walk On, with Mozzi Blozzi Music. Her next album, All That it Takes, was released two years later with Smith Entertainment. After graduating from the University of North Texas, Morris moved to Nashville.

It was in Nashville that Morris began to make a name for herself as a songwriter. She wrote songs for such massive stars as Tim McGraw ("Last Turn Home") and Kelly Clarkson ("Second Wind") before releasing her self-titled EP on Spotify in 2015. That same year, she was signed to Columbia Nashville, which re-released her EP with lead single "My Church." Morris' debut mainstream single became her first top 5 hit on Billboard's US Hot Country Songs chart. It also won her a Grammy Award for Best Country Solo Performance.

Debut major label album Hero secured four Grammy Award nominations. Her second album, Girl, also earned critical and commercial success.

Since then, Morris has juggled time in country supergroup the Highwomen (inspired by the Highwaymen) alongside Brandi Carlile, Amanda Shires and Natalie Hemby with a still-surging solo career that culminated with the 2022 album Humble Quest.

She's also a sought-after collaborator for artists ranging from fellow country star Thomas Rhett to genre-blender Hozier.

Here's our roundup of the 12 best songs so far (not counting the multiple instant Highwomen classics) by a mainstream superstar whose success shows no signs of stopping.

12. "The Middle" with Zedd and Grey

While it's not necessarily a country song, it's impossible not to include this hit pop collaboration that introduced Morris' mighty vocals to a broader audience. It was nominated for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the Grammys. It won Song of the Year at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards.

11. "All My Favorite People" with Brothers Osborne

This duet is just fun. Fellow modern country heavyweights Brothers Osborne's one-two punch of guitar skills and deep vocals meld with Morris' powerhouse performance on an unforgettable song that's a must for feel-good playlists.

10. "80s Mercedes"

Morris' second single from her debut album still holds up as one of those songs you want to scream-sing out loud in your car with the windows down. Her skills as a storyteller really shine with catchy, nostalgia-fueled lyrics you want to hear over and over again.

9. "I Could Use a Love Song"

This No. 1 hit earned Morris a Grammy nomination, and it's easy to hear why. It's a hopeful breakup song that encourages the listener to be positive and hold out hope for love in the future.

8. "Rich"

A fun single from Hero, Morris co-wrote "Rich" with Jessie Jo Dillon and Laura Veltz. It's a breezy mix of country music, hip-hop and pop sounds and lyrical topics that's a showpiece of Morris' biting sense of humor ("If I had a dime every time that you crossed my mind/ Well, I'd basically be sitting on a big ass pile of dimes").

7. "Chasing After You" with Ryan Hurd

Hayes' mom and dad's best collaboration to date captures the palpable romantic chemistry for one of Nashville's most talented power couples.

6. "To Hell & Back"

Another co-write with Dillon and Veltz, Girl highlight "To Hell & Back" defines Morris as a contemporary country singer with a knack for the intricate wordplay that's supposedly missing nowadays from the genre.

5. "Dear Hate" with Vince Gill

Morris' folk songteller-at-heart identity blends seamlessly with Vince Gill's status as an all-time great harmony vocalist and guitar picker on one of the most moving signs of a modern country star's social consciousness.

4. "Better Than We Found It"

Amid global strife in 2020, Morris plead for empathy in the world in which she's helping raise a family. It should've shut down dismissals of Morris as bringing more style than substance to popular music.

3. "Circles Around This Town"

The opener of Greg Kurstin-produced album Humble Quest, this autobiographical tune recalls Morris' early Nashville experience and lays out the self-assignment to tell meaningful stories that she consistently passes with flying colors.

2. "The Bones"

"Bones," a love song about building a stable relationship, is one of the Texan's strongest outings to date. Its official music video shows footage of the singer and Hurd on vacation in Maui. It's one of the most memorable country radio fixtures in recent memory.

1. "My Church"

With her breakout hit "My Church," the singer-songwriter created a 21st century country classic that gives you all the feels and continues to resonate with listeners —and impact karaoke repertoires— years after its release.

Honorable Mention Maren Morris Songs: "I Can't Love You Anymore," "Nervous," "Background Music," "Girl" and "Bummin' Cigarettes"

This story previously ran on May 29, 2020 and was written by Courtney Fox. It was edited and expanded with new songs on Aug. 5, 2022 by Bobby Moore.