Sam Hunt burst onto the country music scene in 2014 with his progressive R&B-influenced sound. After the massive success of his debut album, Montevallo, and the release of his record-breaking single, “Body Like A Back Road,” Hunt seemingly disappeared from the spotlight.
The reason for his hiatus is partly due to the changes he’s made in his personal life. Fans will recall Hunt wed Hannah Lee Fowler in early 2017 in his hometown of Cedartown, Georgia. The event led the hitmaker to make family bonding a top priority. But that doesn’t mean Hunt is going anywhere anytime soon, he just needed to re-focus and find a new balance between home life and road life as an artist.
“Touring and living the lifestyle that comes along with being a new artist in country music does something to your brain,” Hunt told The Boot in a recent interview. “I wanted to re-center myself a little bit, because I felt like I was just — it was sensory overload for, like, three or four years.”
Now that he’s had some time away from the hectic lifestyle of a touring artist, Hunt is ready to lay down the groundwork for his next project. He’s officially released two songs since Montevallo, the massive, cross-genre hit “Body Like a Back Road,” and “Downtown’s Dead,” but neither are likely to make the cut for his new album. Hunt, who says he released those tracks to buy him more time to start recording, may lean on his traditional country roots for his next project.
“I’ve gone back to just picking up the guitar and writing songs,” he explained. “Typically, when you pick up a guitar and write on the guitar, there’s just a different spirit about it, and they tend to go more singer-songwriter, more introspective … more traditional in terms of the genre, so that’s definitely where the songs are leaning at this point.”
“I still feel the pressure because of the songs in the past that have created kind of an expectation,” Hunt added, “so that’s what’s been tough.”
Even though Hunt is known best for blending country with hip-hop and pop, he’s no stranger to traditional country music. In fact, the singer-songwriter, who has booked only a handful of shows this year, made sure to include traditional cover songs like Waylon Jennings’ “Belle of the Ball” into his setlist.
“This new music will, most likely, anyway, be just all new stuff,” Hunt said. “It’s been a little bit nostalgic, but also inspiring, just because I love that genre of music. That’s not necessarily gonna influence my music, but it has influenced the spirit of the way I approach the write.”
Hunt hasn’t shared a release date for his forthcoming project, but by the sounds of it, it will be one for the books.