Maren Morris Relives Her Nashville Beginnings In 'Circles Around This Town'

By Kelly Fisher

January 7, 2022

Photo: Harper Smith

One night as Maren Morris had a “late-night porch hang” with her husband and fellow singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd, the wheels began to turn for her new single. “And we wrote it the next day.”

Morris, 31, released “Circles Around This Town” and its music video on Friday (January 7). It delves into Morris’ story of moving to Nashville and striving to find success in the music industry. The video for the reflective song begins with Morris pouring a bowl of cereal in the kitchen, when she hears Reba McEntire’s voice narrating a commercial for a hotline number, and calling out Morris directly: “Have you had a crisis? Are you going in circles? Have you cussed on a Sunday? Hey! Little brunette pacing around that kitchen! Yeah, I’m talking to you. Get up off your butt and go see what life can be like in humble Nashville, Tennessee. Call our hotline today.”

That’s when Morris gets in the car and embarks on her journey to Music City, unsure of how she “trusted a Montero with the AC busted,” to get her all the way to Nashville. The Texas-born country singer recalled showing up to her first apartment with her first and last month’s rent and two deposits: “Thank God I was an optimist.”

Morris told iHeartCountry that although she loves those lyrics reflecting on her arrival in Nashville, the lyrics that stick out to her the most come later in the song: “Couple hundred songs and the ones that finally worked/ Was the one about a car and the one about a church/ That I wrote.” Morris said “name-dropping” her songs “80s Mercedes” and “My Church” — both from her 2016 album HERO — “makes me emotional when I sing it.” She also recalled her humble beginnings when she first played “Circles Around This Town” for her best friend, who’s “been with me since the beginning… She loved how autobiographical it was because it reminded her of when we were schlepping it out and sharing a crappy house together.”

Morris explained to iHeartCountry how “Circles Around This Town” was born, saying:

“The idea for ‘Circles Around This Town’ came from just a title I had bouncing around my head. I thought it would be clever to say I would drive circles around this town, meaning Nashville, trying to write circles around it, meaning the songwriters. And I just got immediately humbled when I got here nine years ago and realized everyone in Nashville is a great songwriter and you better get in line.
“I wrote it with my husband Ryan Hurd, Julia Michaels, who I love, and then my good friend Jimmy Robbins, who I’ve written a lot of my singles with. I think I ultimately wanted this song to feel like a trip down memory lane, but also hopefully positive and inspiring for any aspiring songwriter out there or just dream-haver. I think if you have a dream and you’re trying to make it happen, that target is always moving. Even if you feel like you’ve achieved it, it keeps moving elsewhere. I think that it’s always about... ‘don’t give up your daydream, don’t stop chasing down your life dream.’ I think when you start realizing that, ‘oh, I’ve got this all made,’ you should probably retire.”

Watch the new “Circles Around This Town” music video here:

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