Tag: sam hunt


September 28, 2015


At first glance, Sam Hunt might seem like a fairly typical young country singer—he grew up in a small Southern town; spent his school days concentrating on sports, but feeling his attachment to music grow deeper and deeper; and came to Nashville with little idea of how the music business worked, but with big dreams.

But a closer look instantly reveals that there is nothing typical about the music that Hunt makes, nor about the way he has introduced his work to the world. In a short time and on his own terms, he has become one of Nashville’s most hotly anticipated new artists, and his debut album, Montevallo, delivers on the buzz and the promise—and then some.

His debut album Montevallo follows Hunt’s recent four-song album preview, X2C, led by the Top Five, gold-selling track “Leave the Night On.” Of course, even though he was a recording rookie, Hunt was no stranger to the country music charts, having already written hits for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Billy Currington.

Hunt grew up in rural Cedartown, Georgia. An athlete all his life, Hunt wound up playing football through college, ending his time there as starting quarterback at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Somewhere during his time at UAB, he picked up a guitar, and while learning the songs of such great singer-songwriters as Townes Van Zandt and John Prine, Hunt began putting rudimentary chords together and writing tunes of his own.

After college, the NFL had taken notice of his talents on the field and he was invited to training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. “I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I needed to find out if I could take it all the way,” he says. “But by then I knew that if football didn’t work out, I was going to Nashville.”

Arriving in Music City, USA without a real understanding of the different paths an aspiring musician might pursue, Hunt was able to play a few of his original songs around town and was soon offered a publishing deal, enabling him to write full-time. He fell in with the songwriting community and the conventional methods of collaborating, but he knew that he was developing a sound that was slightly out of sync with the standard Nashville formulas.

“I always loved country music—I used to take the car keys from my mom and sit in our driveway listening to the car radio,” he says. “But I was also hearing a lot of other music – hip-hop and R&B. In some ways, that really gospel-based Southern R&B might be my favorite of all.”

His songs started to experiment with ways to mix more modern beats and tones with the narrative and wordplay that define the best country music. Some of the other songwriters were skeptical, but when Kenny Chesney recorded “Come Over” (written by Hunt along with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who remain his close associates) and it became a Number One hit, he sensed that he was on to something. When the even more sonically daring “Cop Car” became a hit for Keith Urban, Hunt was convinced that he had found an exciting new direction, and began to shift his focus from being a songwriter to stepping out front as a solo artist.

“I learned a lot from working with all those amazing other writers,” he says. “I learned so many of the rules and the structures that make great songs. But I also knew that there was a way to go beyond those rules and make something that would really be unique and honest to who I am.”

Along the way, Hunt met producer Zach Crowell, who made beats for the Antioch rap crew. They holed up together at Crowell’s home studio for long hours, matching tracks to lyric ideas and developing a new way to write country songs. Once they had a big enough body of work, they borrowed another idea from outside the country genre, and released a free mixtape of acoustic songs called Between The Pines in 2013. “In hip-hop, they do a great job of making the music accessible,” he says. “When somebody’s never heard you, just give them the music and let them decide for themselves if they like it or not.”

Soon, Hunt’s songs were averaging over 300,000 streams per day on Spotify, and he won the latest cycle of Spotify’s “Emerge” program for new artists (previous winners include such notables as Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Bastille). After signing with Universal/MCA Nashville, he finished polishing some of the mixtape songs and fleshing out the remainder of debut album Montevallo.

The results are a bracing mix of sounds and styles, from the aggressive dance beats of the opening “Take Your Time” to the more melodic “Make You Miss Me.” On “Break Up in a Small Town,” Hunt talk-sings the verses, an accident he and Crowell stumbled on in the studio, before unleashing an explosive chorus. With “Raised On It,” he wanted to write about his small-town upbringing with images that expanded upon the now-predictable trucks and dirt roads of countless other country songs; the results are both more specific and more universal than the standard fare.


The album’s title, Montevallo, is the name of a small Alabama town where Hunt often retreated these past few years, to visit friends and escape from the pressures of starting a new career in Nashville. He also points out, however, that the word means “mountains and valleys” in Spanish—which, he says, “feels about right, too.” Because as his remarkable set of songs demonstrates, for Sam Hunt, contradictions are meant to be embraced, rules are meant to be broken, and creativity knows no limits.

Watch Sam Hunt perform “Make You Miss Me” live at last Saturday’s Country Night Lights music festival.


Photo by: Emad Rashidi for Country Night Lights

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September 24, 2015

Country Night Lights headliner Sam Hunt sat down with Billboard.com to discuss how his latest hit single “Break Up In A Small Town” came to fruition:

“I knew she’d find a way to get over me
But I’d never thought that
She would get down with somebody I know
I guess that’s just how it goes
When you break up in a small town.”

“I was singing that chorus melody late one night while riding around, trying to come up with song ideas,” Hunt recalls.

Though he admits that he “didn’t want to write anymore breakup songs,” Hunt took the idea to hit songwriters Shane McAnally and Zach Crowell, who quickly fell in love with the idea.

“I started talking out a verse concept, and Zach happened to be recording,” Hunt continues. “He played back the talking in place of the verses.”

His other three singles from Montevallo, including “Leave the Night On” and “House Party,” have each has earned at least platinum status, with “Take Your Time” already selling more than 2 million copies.

“A lot of times, songs can blend together on the radio, because there’s so many great songs out there,” Hunt says. “I wasn’t intentionally trying to be different, but that was an element of what I naturally do that happened to be unique enough to spark a curiosity for people.”


Buy your tickets to see Sam Hunt at Country Night Lights September 26th

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September 16, 2015

One of country music’s most recognizable names and winner of multiple CMA awards for Best Entertainer and Best Album, Kenny Chesney, has chosen our headliner Sam Hunt to open for his largest performances next tour. When you are as seasoned at making hit records, #1 singles, and throwing widely successful American tours like Kenny Chesney has done since the early 2000’s, fans and music aficionados alike look to these experts to introduce the next best thing in country music. Kenny Chesney choosing Sam Hunt to join him on tour and giving him his certified stamp of approval means Sam Hunt and his country/hip-hop/EDM fusion music are likely to be the future.

​“People count on having a great day when they come out to see us,” Chesney said in a prepared statement. “And I think it’s important that we give them the best show we can from the moment they hit the gate until the final encore song’s been played.”

Five-time CMA Female Vocalist of the Year Miranda Lambert and newcomers Old Dominion will also join Hunt in opening for Chesney on his 2016 tour. Dates have not yet been released. Follow us for more information.

Come see Sam Hunt before he blows up

Buy your Country Night Lights tickets here



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