Maren Morris isn’t your average country artist. Her critical and commercial success showcases a varied musical range, but it also brings a fresh brand of country music to the masses. In 2019, Morris is out on her first headlining world tour in support of her second major label studio album, Girl. Mix caught up with her in Seattle in April.
“In addition to Maren being unbelievably talented, this band is a group of some of the best in Nashville, so they make our lives easy,” says FOH engineer and production manager Brian Morris. “Songs can quickly move from a country ballad to loud rock or pop song, and the band does a great job playing for each genre. These changes make for a fun show each night, but that is something we had to be aware of when planning and putting show files together.”
“Knowing the direction from past tours with her, planning was simple enough,” adds monitor mixer Chris Daniels. “I’m using snapshots for mutes and FX changes only, and macros for a few simple mix changes as the band moves around the stage. I’m mixing Maren post-fader on control groups.”
To the average music fan, she may seem like an overnight star, but years of writing songs for and touring with country music heavyweights tells a different story. Securing a Top 5 Billboard hit (“The Middle,” a collaboration with Zedd and Grey) has also raised the pop star’s profile.
“The crowd reaction to this tour has been amazing, which makes for a fun atmosphere as well as creates challenges for the show,” adds Brian Morris. “Fans sing every word to every song throughout the night, and when multiplied times a few thousand, it can be hard to compete with their volume and hear all the intricate parts the band is playing. Though sometimes difficult, I wouldn’t want to change anything about the energy in the room.”
“For this tour, we’re carrying a DiGiCo SD10 with 72 inputs,” adds Daniels. “I’m using four engines of TC Electronic M6000 MKII for reverbs and delays, six channels of Neve Portico 5045 for vocals and cello and SM58 mics on all vocals. We’re playing a large variety of rooms in varying size with very different-sounding stages each day. Fortunately, everyone is on IEMs and Brian, our FOH mixer, is very receptive and helpful with the P.A. in keeping things tightened up on deck.”