Sam Hunt Talks ‘Locked Up’ EP, Reveals The Valuable Advice He Received From Alabama’s Randy Owen

This four-song project includes Hunt’s first-ever outside cut.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

April 5, 2024

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Sam Hunt; Photo by Steven Alan Worster

Sam Hunt dropped his new four-song Locked Up EP just in time for his upcoming headline tour of the same name. Ahead of the release, he spoke with us and other media outlets about the project.

Four-Song Release Out Now

Sitting at the top of the EP is his latest release, which also serves as the title track. Next, are two brand-new tracks, “Country House” and “Last Hurrah,” and rounding out the four-pack is the country star’s current Top 3 single and rising, “Outskirts.”

As a co-writer on three of the four tracks, the “Came The Closest” singer takes an honest look at the different versions of himself and the maturity that comes with each life experience. Listeners will discover Hunt in his truest form while exploring the project’s various themes of resilience, reflection, and a deep-rooted love for the country way of life. 

Sam Hunt - Locked Up
Sam Hunt – Locked Up

Details His First-Ever Outside Cut

Hunt co-wrote three of the four tracks, meaning this collection includes his first-ever outside cut. The slow-burning tune of “Last Hurrah” was penned by Luke Laird, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and finds the father of two wondering if the love interest at hand was with him for the right reasons or if he was just a final moment of fun before settling down with someone else. 

Even though it’s not his personal story, the song offers a haunting display of heartbreak that highlights the tenderness in Hunt’s voice. He revealed it was musical icon Randy Owen who encouraged him to step outside the bounds of his comfort zone when choosing new songs to record. 

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“I’ve always felt the need to be a writer or write the songs that I put out because I’ve just felt like that’s what the audience or folks who supported us expect and connect with to some degree, but I was at a cattle show about two years ago, and I met Randy Owen. One of the things he told me was out of the blue…he said, ‘don’t be afraid to cut outside songs’ and I had to check myself to make sure that I wasn’t letting my ego get too involved with feeling the need to be the writer on every song,” Hunt explained. “So I stepped away from that and started to think about it and consider outside songs. That song came along and it felt like something that I would’ve written… all three of the writers are writers that I write with so it sounds like something that I could have written and I connected to it immediately.”

The other fresh release that appears on the EP is “Country House,” a carefree tune penned by Sam Hunt, Ross Copperman, Michael Lotten, Josh Osborne, that honors the desire for a simpler way of life. With crickets chirping in the background and banjo licks remaining prominent throughout the mid-tempo beat, “Country House” is undeniably a country lovers anthem. 

“Locked Up”

Through his appearance, his mindset, and this new project, Sam Hunt seems to be embracing his country roots more than ever. This rings true on his song “Locked Up,” which was paired with a music video that finds him and his wife, Hannah, channeling country music icons Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash.

YouTube video

The cinematic new video resembles Cash’s iconic 1968 concert at Folsom Prison. Hunt’s version was filmed at Historic Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, TN. 

“It’s a really cool prison…It’s closed down now and it has a real spooky feel to it, but it fit the aesthetic for that Folsom Prison, Johnny Cash look. And that concert he did was such a piece of country music history, Americana, it’s a piece of Americana and just something cool to draw off of. So we decided to go ahead and do it and get the suits and the outfits and we got a whole bunch of guys from the town come and dress up like inmates. It made for a really fun experience.”

Praises His Wife’s Appearance In The Video

Hunt says having his wife by his side in the video made it feel more “tasteful” as she “looked fantastic and carried that same grace that June Carter carried.” 

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

This experience also seemed to unlock a feeling of growth and maturity for the Georgia native who says he spent years trying to push back against the “norms and traditions” of the system. Now that he’s older, married and a dad to two kids, he finds himself wanting to hone in on stability and also play a role in preserving the traditions of country music. 

“It felt like just as a band and as a group even, shooting that video that we all felt a little more grown up and I think that was good for us.” 

CMT Music Awards Performance

Fans will get to see him make his “Locked Up” performance debut during the 2024 CMT Music Awards on Sunday, April 7. He teased that viewers can expect to see the music video be recreated in a unique way on the stage of the Moody Center in Austin, Texas.

These four songs join a string of singles that Sam Hunt has released over the past few years. Despite the fact that he has yet to compile them into an official album, the singer/songwriter explained that he sees the last 10 releases, including this EP, as a complete project. He took the unconventional route and opted to roll out each track individually instead of placing them all under the same title in order to avoid long gaps of time without any music being put out. 

“There may be a time down the road where I don’t make a big deal about it, and just put all these songs together on one project just for posterity’s sake. So down the road when I look back, this will be an actual album that you can find with a name and all the songs are together because they do all go together.”

On Tour In 2024

While Sam Hunt is currently headlining his Outskirts 2024 Tour with opening acts Brett Young and Lily Rose, he also recently announced plans to embark on a North American summer trek dubbed the Locked Up Tour.

This run of shows kicks off June 28 in Bend, Ore, and continues with a total of 20 cities through September with dates across the U.S. and Canada. Hunt will be receive support by rising acts Russell Dickerson, George Birge (U.S.), and Dalton Dover (Canada).

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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.