From ‘Body Like a Back Road’ to ‘Locked Up’: Country crossover star Sam Hunt performs at Jiffy Lube Live

This Friday, Sam Hunt brings his “Locked Up Tour” to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, for radio hits like “Outskirts” and “Body Like a Back Road.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Sam Hunt at Jiffy Lube Live (Part 1)

Few nation music stars have crossed over in recent times as efficiently as Sam Hunt has.

This Friday, Hunt brings his “Locked Up Tour” to Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, for a mix of latest radio hits like “Outskirts” and career-defining tunes like “Body Like a Back Road.”

“There’ll be some new songs and a few songs which were out for some time, a ‘Montevallo’-heavy set, I’d say,” Hunt informed WTOP. “We’re actually nonetheless understanding the set. We’ve solely performed three exhibits to this point this summer time with the set, so we’re nonetheless tweaking and altering, however we’ll sort of do this as we go. … I feel it’s coming collectively.”

Born in Georgia in 1984, Hunt grew up desirous to be an expert soccer participant as a Wendy’s High School Heisman nominee who performed quarterback at Middle Tennessee State, then transferred to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He even tried out for the Kansas City Chiefs earlier than shifting gears to a music profession.

“I used to be dabbling with the guitar in faculty, simply tinkering round like plenty of faculty youngsters do, and I actually fell in love with the writing aspect of it,” Hunt stated. “I used to be utilizing it as an outlet to specific no matter emotions I used to be feeling and inform some tales and it was form of like a musical journal I assume, however just a few years handed, I graduated from faculty, the actual world was approaching quick and I needed to go to Nashville and see what Music City was all about.”

Arriving in Nashville in 2008, Hunt made a residing writing songs for established stars like Kenny Chesney (“Come Over”), Keith Urban (“Cop Car”), Billy Currington (“We Are Tonight”) and Reba McEntire (“Love Somebody”).

“I fell in with some gifted people and all of us sort of got here up collectively,” Hunt stated. “We have been all struggling songwriters and we signed these publishing offers that allowed us to not have one other job, although it didn’t pay very a lot, however allowed us to pay the lease and groceries and maintain our time free to write down as a lot as we might, in order that’s what I did for about two and a half years and received higher … and eventually began catching some traction.”

In 2014, Hunt signed with MCA Nashville for his breakthrough album “Montevallo.” It delivered a string of No. 1 hits with “Leave the Night On,” “House Party” and “Take Your Time,” that includes a novel type of spoken lyrics (“I didn’t imply to hassle you however …”) earlier than shifting into melodic singing (“I couldn’t simply stroll by and never say hello”).

“I used to be simply experimenting and selecting on the guitar and form of stream-of-conscious making an attempt to speak the lyrics and simply communicate what the lyrics needs to be as an alternative of singing over a melody and it simply got here out in form of this rhythmic manner,” Hunt stated. “At first, I didn’t essentially suppose it had any potential, I used to be simply making an attempt to flesh out the thought of the verse … however I began doing it in entrance of a few my writing buddies and so they have been like, ‘Just do this.’”

The album additionally featured different radio hits like “Break Up in a Small Town” and “Make You Miss Me,” incomes a Grammy nomination for Best Country Album, in addition to an general Grammy nomination for Best New Artist.

“It was very particular to be included in that entire deal,” Hunt stated. “I’ve been round lengthy sufficient to understand how prestigious the Grammy Awards are in a world of a number of totally different award exhibits, so I simply felt fulfilled. That first file I spent plenty of time not chopping corners, dialing in each lyric and each sound … so I used to be glad that any individual on the Recording Academy and people people heard that onerous work hopefully and acknowledged it.”

In 2017, Hunt adopted up together with his largest hit “Body Like a Back Road,” incomes two extra Grammy nominations and successful Single Record of the Year by the Academy of Country Music. On the radio, it broke the file of Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” by spending a whopping 34 weeks atop the Hot Country Songs chart. It even crossed over onto the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 6 to rival “Despacito” because the music of the summer time.

“The timing of it was excellent,” Hunt stated. “I feel the character and the lingo and the lyric, it was a cultural second the place that match proper into the place issues have been transferring. In nation, you don’t essentially hear a music like that, a flirty music with that sort of lyric and character, so I feel it was simply distinctive and that helped it stand out.”

Three years later, “Body Like a Back Road” would finally seem on his second studio album “Southside” (2020) with further hits like “Kinfolks” and “Hard to Forget.” This paved the best way for his 2023 Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance with the gifted singer/songwriter Ingrid Andress on “Wishful Drinking.”

“I’m actually grateful to Ingrid for making that occur,” Hunt stated. “She made it very easy on me, she had the music, despatched it to me and had already put her vocal on it. I occurred to be at a writing retreat down in Florida so I had my producer proper there with me, so after we received it and determined to be on it, it took me about an hour and 30 or 40 minutes to sing a vocal, ship it again and so they did the remainder. Next factor you recognize, it was on the radio doing nicely.”

Now, his tour is called after his newest album and title music, “Locked Up,” wherein he tries to make amends for errors in his private life, together with a DUI arrest in 2019 and 2021 conviction that noticed him spend 48 hours in jail. This was adopted by a close to divorce in 2022 earlier than reconciling together with his spouse to change into dad and mom.

“I’ve been locked up earlier than, so I used to be in a position to attract from private expertise just a little bit, however I didn’t need to inform my story essentially,” Hunt stated. “I actually needed to write down in a manner that was normal and will actually be a metaphor for the evening I tousled, the evening I did no matter silly factor that almost misplaced me my woman, so I attempt to maintain the lyric free and normal, however it’s known as ‘Locked Up,’ in order that factor is fairly particular.”

WTOP’s Jason Fraley previews Sam Hunt at Jiffy Lube Live (Part 2)

Hear our full dialog on the podcast beneath:


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