Hero is the major label debut studio album by American singer Maren Morris. It was released on June 3, 2016, by Columbia Nashville. The album is Morris' first release under a major label and her fourth overall. The album's track listing and cover art was released on March 14, 2016.[2] The album debuted and peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 200.


In August 2015, Morris self-released five songs as a self-titled extended play, Maren Morris, on Spotify.[3] The songs gained 2.5 million streams on Spotify in a month, with three songs appearing in Spotify's US and Global "Viral 50" chart. The success of Morris' EP attracted the interest of major labels, and she became signed to Columbia Nashville in September 2015.[4] The label then re-released the 5-song EP on November 6, 2015 with "My Church" the lead single.[5]

"My Church" would become a success on the chart, reaching number 5 on the Hot Country Songs chart. The success of "My Church" was followed by the release of the Morris' first major label album release, Hero.[5] The songs from the EP are included in this album release with the exception of "Company You Keep". The additional songs in the album were co-written with Chris DeStefano, Natalie Hemby, Shane McAnally, and others.[2] Morris has writing credits on all the songs in the album.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars11px11px11px11px[6]

Hero was well received by most music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic praised Morris' inventiveness and how she "skillfully slides between styles, blurring distinctions between genre and eras". Erlewine felt that the album "belongs to the digital era but it's the songs -- smart, sharp, and hooky -- that make this a great modern pop album, regardless of genre."[6] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times considered the album an outstanding country music debut, and "perhaps the canniest country record in recent memory." Caramanica thought Morris an "astute synthesizer" of various styles, and found the album to be "both utterly of its moment and also savvy enough to indicate how the future might sound." He also noted the profanity in some of the songs that Morris used "fluently, casually, and effectively, which is to say, you hardly notice at all as she's breaking what may be country's last remaining taboo."[7]


Year Association Category Result
2016 CMA Awards[8] Album of the Year Pending
CMA Awards New Artist of the Year Pending

Commercial performance

In the United States, Hero debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart with 45,000 equivalent album units; the album sold 37,000 copies in pure sales, with the remainder of its unit total reflecting the album's streaming and track equivalent album units.[9] It also debuted at number one on the Top Country Albums chart. As of October 2016 the album has sold 104,100 copies in the United States.[10]


The album's lead single, "My Church", was released on January 19, 2016. The album's second single, "80s Mercedes", was released to country radio on June 27, 2016.

Track listing

  • Morris
  • Veltz
  • Jessie Jo Dillon
3."My Church"
4."I Could Use a Love Song"
5."80s Mercedes"
  • Morris
  • busbee
6."Drunk Girls Don't Cry"3:32
7."How It's Done"
8."Just Another Thing"
9."I Wish I Was"
  • Morris
  • Hemby
  • Ryan Hurd
10."Second Wind"
  • Morris
  • busbee


According to liner notes.[11]

  • Rich Brinsfieldbass guitar
  • busbee – percussion, programming, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, synthesizer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
  • Eric Darken – percussion
  • Johnny Duke – electric guitar
  • Fred Eltringhamdrums
  • Ian Fitchuk – drums, programming, bass guitar, keyboards, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, Wurlitzer, acoustic guitar, whistling, background vocals
  • Joe Fox – electric guitar
  • Natalie Hemby – background vocals
  • Brad Hill – programming, crowd noise, background vocals
  • Ryan Hurd – background vocals
  • Mason Levy – programming
  • Hayley McLean – electric guitar
  • Richard Madenfort – electric guitar
  • Carl Miner – acoustic guitar, banjo, bouzouki
  • Heather Morgan – background vocals
  • Maren Morris – lead vocals, background vocals
  • John Osborne – electric guitar
  • Aaron Sterling – drums, percussion
  • Dave Thomson – background vocals
  • Mark Trussell – electric guitar
  • Brett Tyler – programming, bass guitar, keyboards, electric guitar, background vocals
  • Laura Veltz – background vocals
  • Derek Wells – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mandolin

Choir singersThe McCrary Sisters (Regina McCrary, Deborah McCrary, Alfreda McCrary, Allen McCrary, Beverly McCrary)

  • Austin Atwood – digital editing
  • Adam Ayan – mastering
  • Jeff Balding – recording, engineer
  • busbee – production (all tracks except 9, 12, 14), recording, mixing
  • Dave Clauss – recording, mixing
  • Eric Darken – recording
  • Zach DeWall – assistant engineer
  • Ian Fitchuk – production (track 12), recording
  • Kenley Flynn – production assistant (track 14 only)
  • Brad Hill – production (tracks 6, 9, 13), recording
  • Scott Johnson – production assistant
  • Jordan Lehning – digital editing
  • Richard Madenfort – production
  • Amanda Miller – assistant engineer
  • Maren Morris – production
  • Ernesto Olivera – assistant, drum recording assistant
  • Juan Sevilla – assistant engineer
  • Aaron Sterling – recording
  • Morgan Stratton – drum recording assistant
  • Brett Tyler – production (track 14), recording
  • Derek Wells – recording
  • Brian David Willis – digital editing


Chart (2016) Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[12] 69
Australian Country Albums (ARIA)[13] 6
Australian Hitseekers Albums (ARIA)[13] 1
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[14] 14
US Billboard 200[15] 5
US Top Country Albums (Billboard)[16] 1


  2. 2.0 2.1 Annie Reuter (March 14, 2016). "Maren Morris Announces Her Major Label Debut, 'Hero'". Taste of Country. 
  3. "Maren Morris". Twitter. 
  4. Jessica Nicholson (September 10, 2015). "Sony Music Nashville Signs Singer-Songwriter Maren Morris". Music Row. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Leahey, Andrew (March 14, 2016). "Maren Morris Plots 'Hero' Album Release". Rolling Stone. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Maren Morris: Hero". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved June 29, 2016. 
  7. Jon Caramanica (June 1, 2016). "Review: Why 'Hero' Is an Outstanding Country Music Debut". The New York Times. 
  8. Watts, Cindy (August 31, 2016). "Eric Church, Chris Stapleton, Maren Morris leaders in 2016 CMA Awards nominations". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 31, 2016. 
  9. Caulfield, Keith (June 2, 2016). "Drake's 'Views' Album No. 1 for Sixth Week on Billboard 200, Paul Simon Debuts at No. 3". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved June 28, 2016. 
  10. Bjorke, Matt (October 5, 2016). "Top 10 Country Albums Sales Chart: October 3, 2016". Roughstock. Retrieved October 5, 2016. 
  11. Hero (CD insert). Maren Morris. Columbia Records. 2016. 88985-32645-2. 
  12. Ryan, Gavin (June 11, 2016). "ARIA Albums: Jimmy Barnes 'Soul Searchin' Is His 11th No 1 Album". Noise11. Retrieved June 11, 2016. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 "Issue 1372". ARIA Report. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  14. "Maren Morris – Chart history" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Maren Morris. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  15. "Drake's 'Views' Album No. 1 for Sixth Week on Billboard 200, Paul Simon Debuts at No. 3". Billboard. Retrieved June 13, 2016. 
  16. "Maren Morris – Chart history" Billboard Top Country Albums for Maren Morris. Retrieved June 14, 2016.

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