SONG PREMIERE: On “Free” Grace Morrison (With Lloyd Maines) Delivers Anthemic Twang Stunner

A sense of decorated twang and vulnerability drapes Grace Morrison’s music proving she’s a little bit of everything in the Nashville realm. With lovely roping old-school jukebox licks and a breezy approach, Morrison brings a freewheeling sentimental sound reminiscent of Laura Veirs, Neko Case, and dabbles of Loretta, Dolly, and Patsy. While those comparisons seem lofty, Morrison is collaborating with the very best.

Morrison’s new album Daughter (out 8/20) features Austin City Limits Hall of Famer Lloyd Maines (father of Natalie Maines of The Chicks), and was produced by Jon Evans – longtime bassist for Linda Perry, Tori Amos, Paula Cole, Chris Cornell, and Sarah McLachlan, among others.  Morrison is the sole writer to which all the songs on Daughter are attributed, save for the touching “Just Loving You,” which she co-wrote with Grammy-winner Lori McKenna.

Glide is premiering Morrison’s embellishing single “Free,” (below) which makes a bold opening statement with its thunderous rhythmic pattern followed by yearning pedal steel throughout. “Free” makes for quite the anthem of whatever you make of it, but Morrison candidly tells of the song’s background and paternal influence…

“Free” started as a stylistic homage for my dad.  He passed in 2016, but was always my biggest supporter….although that support roughly translated to constant statements like “You should sing the blues,” or “Add a little twang to that!” or “come on, write a toe-tapper”. The opening rhythm really came from me thinking about a groove he would dig. Once I started with that groove my mind went back in time to the house I grew up in and the days when he would constantly beg me to sing songs he liked (I was 100% in Letters to Cleo mode at the time).  At that time he liked zero boyfriends I brought home.  One, in particular, I recall breaking up with for no real reason other than wanting to feel free.  I got to thinking “Man, if I spent my whole life breaking up with people for no real reason I’d wind up a lonely old cat lady.”

I was trying to channel some Patsy Cline in this one, in particular on the little melismatic part of the word “free”. The truth is, the biggest influence on this one was my dad. Growing up we had one TV, and he had the one remote essentially glued to his hand.  That TV almost exclusively featured sports, news, and cowboy movies.  Little kid me despised all 3 of those things because all I wanted was to watch Family Matters.  Isn’t it funny how the things that drove you crazy about your grownups can turn into the things you miss the most?  Man what I wouldn’t give to fall asleep hearing my dad watch some Quigley Down Under.  Quigley, you give me the warm and fuzzies.  So that’s why a discerning ear might hear a familiar theme at the very end of the tune.

Right off the bat, and because this was written with my dad in mind, I’m in love with the “twang” on this.  Not only because it’s twangy, but because it’s Lloyd Maines playing the twang. One of my dad’s last ditch efforts to get teenage me off of Hanson and onto country was The Chicks.  I think he’d be elated that my twang came from the same genius brain who gave The Chicks theirs.

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