Sam Hunt And Wife, Hannah, Pay Tribute To Johnny Cash And June Carter Cash In New ‘Locked Up’ Music Video

“I don’t know if I did Johnny Cash justice,” the country star admits.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

March 22, 2024

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Sam Hunt, Hannah Lee Fowler; Photo Courtesy Sam Hunt, Instagram

Sam Hunt and his wife, Hannah Lee Fowler, channel country music icons Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash in the new music video for Hunt’s just-released song, “Locked Up.”

The Story Behind “Locked Up”

While reflecting on the inspiration behind the song, Hunt says it all started with a title that he had on hold in his phone. At the time, he “had no idea” what kind of story would unfold from there, but he did admit to taking into account the fact that he has had “a few run-ins with the law” within his lifetime and wondered if those experiences would somehow influence the song. Hunt then revealed it was his producer, Zach Crowell, who helped him take his idea to the next step. 

Sam Hunt - Locked Up
Sam Hunt – Locked Up

“My producer was playing me some music, he had built some tracks and was playing through a few songs, and I was looking at my phone, and I saw the title in the songs,” Hunt recalled. “The music sounded like the title, which is always a good start, and I just started singing that chorus. I think I filled in, 30-40 percent of the lyric in one take.”

Eventually, it evolved into a love song that paints the picture of a woman who has stood by her man through thick and thin. The male character admits to his mistakes while he was in his “young, dumb, rowdy phase” and realizes that his foolish actions could have easily caused his better half to walk away and never look back. Letting maturity shine through his vocals and swaying instrumentals, Hunt illustrates that the man shows signs of true regret while recounting one night in particular in which he was sent to jail. He thought that was the final straw, yet the woman continued to show him love. 

“The night I got locked up/ Everything went wrong/ The night I got messed up/ Should’ve just stayed home/ Picked up my phone/ What can I say I thought that you’d walk away/  But you stood by your man/ Tammy Wynette/ It hit the fan/ You could’ve just quit/ Nah, but you showed me love/ You didn’t go when the goin’ got tough/ The night I got locked up,” Hunt sings on the chorus.

The Music Video Gives A Nod To Johnny Cash’s 1968 Folsom Prison Concert

The story penned by Hunt with Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne, Jerry Flowers and his producer Zach Crowell, is brought to life in a cinematic video that resembles Cash’s iconic 1968 concert at Folsom Prison.

The “Came The Closest” singer and Fowler, who was pregnant with their second child, Lowry, at the time of the shoot, star in the video that was filmed at a prison in East Tennessee. The pair even dressed the part with Hunt’s clean-cut black suit and slicked-back hair and her matching, conservative black dress that closely resembles the appearance of Cash and Carter at the 1968 event. As they make their way through the Tennessee prison, Hunt finds himself on the stage performing for a group of inmates in their blue jumpsuits who appear to be enjoying the taste of live music. Fowler stands on the sidelines, proudly watching her husband on stage, just as the song’s lyrics suggest.

“We found a really cool old prison in East Tennessee, and we had this idea originally to recreate the Johnny Cash Folsom Prison concert that he did back in the day and dressed up in all black, a suit, and I got a bunch of local guys to come out and dress up as inmates and had a really good time with it, sort of a period piece idea, I guess you could call it,” Sam said of the video.

YouTube video

Hunt Says He Had a Lot Of Fun On Set

While he’s unsure his work could compare to Cash, Hunt expresses great pride for how it all turned out and getting to have his family by his side made the experience even more memorable.

“I don’t know if I did Johnny Cash justice. I doubt I did, but I enjoyed making the video and had my family out there with me and met a lot of cool folks who came out to help us with this video, so that was one of the more fun video experiences I’ve had.”

While Sam Hunt’s latest single, “Outskirts” continues to rise to the top of the country charts, the country singer is currently en route for his Outskirts 2024 Tour. This trek is next scheduled to visit Duluth, Minnesota tonight (March 22nd) and Grand Forks, North Dakota on Saturday (March 23rd).

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.