The Nashville songwriter returns with a comfortable set of country-pop, colored by grief and new motherhood. It feels matter-of-factly masterful.
To say Humble Quest is a re-embrace of country is misleading insofar as it suggests Morris, who can conjure a Texan Amy Winehouse, was ever a neat fit for the genre, or that she ever aspired to be. That said, the album is a near-perfect expression of country-pop post-Golden Hour, the high-water mark by Morris’ Lone Star pal Kacey Musgraves: music channeling the ’70s California rock that channeled classic country songcraft. Humble Quest may be filigreed with pedal steel, dobro, and mandolin, but it runs on guitars, synth washes, big drums, and bigger choruses. It’s all shaped with the help of Greg Kurstin, a master of pop-rock-soul triangulation who produced Morris’ hit “The Bones” along with projects by Adele, Sia, and Beck (whose Sea Change and Morning Phase might prove West Coast touchstones as significant for a new generation of country acts as the Eagles’ Greatest Hits has been for the past one).