What’s it going to take to get an album of songs like this from Sam Hunt?
Sam has been talking for a while now about “leaning on his country roots” as he’s been writing songs. He even mentioned Tyler Childers and Sturgill Simpson (who recently released a bluegrass record of his own) as artists who inspire him as a songwriter, and said that he hopes to make a record like that someday. So naturally, fans were excited to see what Sam had in store with his latest album.
Well, it was nothing like that. In fact, Southside was pretty much the same stuff he’s been doing. The exact same. The same pop-leaning, talk-singing, snap track sound that you either love or, if you’re a traditional country music fan, you undoubtedly hate.
I’ll admit, I was frustrated. Mainly because there has been some bright spots that show what Sam is capable of when it comes to making a more traditional country album. Just give me 12 songs that sound like “2016” and I won’t complain. Hell, I even wrote about how good “Hard to Forget” would be if he recorded it as a pure 90’s country song. Give me more of that and you might get my attention.
Well now it seems like he may actually be serious about trying something new, because apparently Sam has taken up playing some bluegrass in the past few months. And I’ll be the first one to say, for the love of God Sam, please stick to this.
Sam posted a video of himself and some bluegrass pickers jamming out on Doc Watson’s bluegrass version of “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” originally written by members of the Mississippi Sheiks. And guess what? It’s pretty damn good.
“I’ve been playing some blue grass music with my brother in law Mason James Nolen this summer. He’s playing the mandolin here. He and I got together with Gaven Largent, Evan Winsor, Cody Kilby and Greg Davis.”
I know there are going to be some Sam Hunt haters who will just automatically lose their shit at any mention of the guy’s name, but Sam has proven that he has a good voice when he’s not auto-tuning every word that he sings, and we know that Sam is capable of doing some actual country music when he wants to.
We’ve heard Sam cover “Strawberry Wine” and Waylon Jennings’ “Belle of the Ball” a few years back, and during his shows he usually throws in covers of classic ’90s country songs like “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” and “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares).”
Will we ever get to hear a full-blown bluegrass record from Sam Hunt? Has Sam permanently left a sour taste in the mouth of traditional country music fans with his previous records? Will bluegrass fans even care? Only time will tell, but if Sam really is turning over a new bluegrass leaf (for real this time), it can’t be a bad thing, right?
In the meantime, enjoy a bluegrass version of Sturgill Simpson’s “Breakers Roar” from his recently released Cuttin’ Grass Volume 1.