Five years ago, Maren Morris and Ryan Hurd sang together at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for the first time, when Morris opened for Chris Stapleton at the historic venue.
A lot has happened since. Morris is now one of country music’s brightest, most outspoken stars. Hurd’s career is on a sharp ascent with a string of popular EPs and singles under his belt. Oh, and the two musicians got married and started a family: their son Hayes celebrated his first birthday last month.
On Sunday, Morris and Hurd were back on the Ryman stage for another first — performing together on an awards show.
They sang their new first-ever duet, “Chasing After You,” on the 56th annual ACM Awards, that aired live on CBS from multiple iconic Nashville venues.
ACM Awards:How to watch, performer lineup and what’s happening during the music awards
The ballad, penned by Brinley Addington and Jerry Flowers, revolves around two people who can’t stop themselves from falling in love.
“Every time you say we’re done, you come back to the love you were running from,” they sing. “Don’t know why I let you but I do/ Guess I love chasing after you.”
“We heard the demo years ago, and it sort of lit us both on fire,” Morris says. “And I think it at the time when we heard it, it was really reflective of our relationship at that moment. It was very much about yearning. Now it’s become so nostalgic for us. But it’s also such a relatable topic, even if you are in a relationship or married, to be chasing someone down and not losing that want for somebody.”
Between having a kid and the restraints of lockdown, the two musicians haven’t had to track each other down much in the past year. And in any setting, they’re open to each other’s musical input — the two met through a songwriting session, after all.
‘We all should be uncomfortable’:Maren Morris, Rissi Palmer discuss racism in country music
“Honestly, I think that we are each other’s safe place for creativity,” Hurd says. “…Maren doesn’t need any help making albums, but it’s really fun to be creative with her still, because that’s the way that we started out.”
Speaking of making albums, Morris is at work on her third major-label effort, the follow-up to 2019’s “Girl” — and progress has ramped up since she decided to ultimately cancel her “RSVP” tour due to the pandemic.
“I think it’s really healthy for me to just be home making music, and my fans are some of the most patient and understanding individuals in the world…just let me finish this record, and then I promise we’re going to tour it big and do everything that we were going to do last year but even more so.”
“We’re trying to time it so that we’re both going (on tour) at the same time so that we can soak up as much time at home,” Hurd says. “But as soon as we hit the button, we’re going to go to full speed.”
The 56th annual ACM Awards air Sunday at 7 p.m. CST on CBS and Paramount+.