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 recent 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 might say,” Hunt informed WTOP. “We’re actually nonetheless understanding the set. We’ve solely performed three exhibits thus far this summer time with the set, so we’re nonetheless tweaking and altering, however we’ll type of try this as we go. … I feel it’s coming collectively.”

Born in Georgia in 1984, Hunt grew up eager 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 school, simply tinkering round like a whole lot of school children do, and I actually fell in love with the writing aspect of it,” Hunt mentioned. “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 type of like a musical journal I assume, however a couple of years handed, I graduated from school, the true 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 dwelling 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 proficient people and all of us type of got here up collectively,” Hunt mentioned. “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 jot down as a lot as we may, 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 fashion 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 choosing on the guitar and type of stream-of-conscious attempting to speak the lyrics and simply communicate what the lyrics ought to be as an alternative of singing over a melody and it simply got here out in type of this rhythmic approach,” Hunt mentioned. “At first, I didn’t essentially assume it had any potential, I used to be simply attempting 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 try 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 mentioned. “I’ve been round lengthy sufficient to know the way prestigious the Grammy Awards are in a world of numerous completely different award exhibits, so I simply felt fulfilled. That first report I spent a whole lot of time not reducing corners, dialing in each lyric and each sound … so I used to be glad that someone on the Recording Academy and people people heard that tough work hopefully and acknowledged it.”

In 2017, Hunt adopted up along 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 report 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 track of the summer time.

“The timing of it was excellent,” Hunt mentioned. “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 track like that, a flirty track with that kind of lyric and persona, 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 proficient singer/songwriter Ingrid Andress on “Wishful Drinking.”

“I’m actually grateful to Ingrid for making that occur,” Hunt mentioned. “She made it very easy on me, she had the track, 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 once 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 remaining. Next factor you recognize, it was on the radio doing properly.”

Now, his tour is known as after his newest album and title track, “Locked Up,” by which 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 along with his spouse to turn into mother and father.

“I’ve been locked up earlier than, so I used to be ready to attract from private expertise somewhat bit, however I didn’t need to inform my story essentially,” Hunt mentioned. “I actually needed to jot down in a approach that was basic and will actually be a metaphor for the evening I tousled, the evening I did no matter silly factor that just about misplaced me my woman, so I attempt to maintain the lyric unfastened and basic, however it’s referred to as ‘Locked Up,’ in order that aspect 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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