Maren Morris pays tribute to the music that moves her – including the country classics of Hank Williams and Johnny Cash – in “My Church,” so it felt wholly appropriate to watch her onstage at the CMA Awards, performing a revamped version of the song in front of her contemporaries and predecessors.
Already heavily inspired by gospel music, “My Church” received a Sunday morning makeover during its show-stealing CMA performance, which kicked off with a call-and-response between Morris and the McCrary Sisters. From there, the song kicked into hyperdrive, with contributions from more than a dozen musicians. Members of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band were along for the ride, too, beefing up the song’s soulful swagger and giving Morris the freedom to hand her acoustic guitar to a stagehand, strut down the stage’s catwalk and ad lib her way through the final chorus.
Minutes after leaving the stage, Morris returned, this time to accept an award for Best New Artist. It was a well-deserved chance to receive another standing ovation, with Morris – whose “My Church” didn’t even hit radio airwaves until January 2016 – and her album Hero riding one of the quickest waves of country success since Chris Stapleton.
Watch Beyonce and Dixie Chicks performe “Daddy Lessons” at the CMA Awards.