Now that Sam Hunt’s one of the fastest rising stars in country music, it may seem hard to remember a time when he was just a songwriter, with his tracks recorded by other artists. It’s certainly not a new dynamic – Kenny Chesney wrote a David Nail song, and Brett Eldredge and Jake Owen both had their fair share of songs recorded by other artists before their own careers took off.
And while his hits for Kenny Chesney and Billy Currington were handed off with grace, Hunt has always seemed to retain a sense of ownership over Keith Urban hit “Cop Car,” with some less-than-magnanimous tweets during last year’s Grammy Awards and his inclusion of a version of it on his debut album Montevallo.
However, in the face of constant criticisms that Hunt isn’t ‘country,’ it’s a brilliant move to return to the traditional songwriter place from which he started. The tracks sound good – Hunt revises the melody in places, giving the songs fresh life (a necessity, since he’s released quite a few versions of “Cop Car”) – and an acoustic, hip-hop-drum- and sing-speak-free vibe works well for the artist.