The Hodgepodge: Stop Trying To Make Me Like Sam Hunt

Hunt Montevallo

Over the past year, one artist has stood out amongst the rest in mainstream country music: Sam Hunt. Ever since “Leave The Night On” got its artificial push onto radio via On The Verge last summer, Hunt has dominated the airwaves, charts and headlines. His Montevallo album has been dominating sales, as well as receive praise from critics (a few I even respect). In fact the main subject matter of this week’s Billboard Country Update was how Sam Hunt dominated the first quarter of 2015. The aforementioned Montevallo album was the top-selling country album, with a total of 199,000 copies sold. The next highest selling album was Luke Bryan’s Spring Break…Checkin’ Out, which sold 137,000 copies. That’s a gap of 62,000 albums between Hunt and Bryan. However it should be noted the highest selling album in the first quarter of 2014, Eric Church’s The Outsiders, had a total of 491,000 copies sold.

It wasn’t just the album sales Hunt topped either. His hit single “Take Your Time” was the highest selling country digital song of the first quarter of 2015 too. A total of 619,000 copies were sold. The second-highest was Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown,” which had a total of 381,000 sales. So Hunt sold 238,000 more copies of “Take Your Time” than Zac Brown Band’s “Homegrown.” For reference, the highest selling digital country song of the first quarter of 2014 was Brantley Gilbert’s “Bottoms Up,” which sold 682,000 copies. Just looking at the charts from last year and comparing them to this year’s chart, you can tell country music is taking a hit in the sales department (courtesy Billboard):

First Quarters 2014 & 2015

While sales are down across the board for everyone else, Sam Hunt is the only one putting up noticeable numbers. You see where I’m going with this? A monster has been created and when something gets big in country music, everyone else tries to replicate it. With Hunt being the clear cash cow and popular flavor at the moment, that means we’re going to get a lot more Sam Hunt shoved down our throats.

That leads me to this week’s announcement in the weekly Country Aircheck issue. As you all know this year is the 50th Annual ACM Awards and the ACM association is going all out for it. In addition to the bigger production of the awards show itself, they’re also taping a special titled ACM Presents: Superstar Duets, which will air on May 19. The announced duets were as follows: Miranda Lambert with Patty Loveless, Keith Urban with John Anderson, The Band Perry with Deana Carter and Sam Hunt with Dwight Yoakam. Wait…what? Those first three pairings I have absolutely no problem with. That last one however sticks out like a giant sore thumb and not in a good way.

One of your first reactions might be is why would Yoakam agree to do this? One of the following two things I’m guessing is the reason Yoakam is doing this: Yoakam has no real clue who Hunt is and agreed to do it out of principle or his label forced him to do it. Remember he is on the Warner Nashville label and he has a new album coming out. This is no indication that Yoakam is endorsing Hunt nor is he changing his sound to Hunt’s sound. So put to rest the hearsay that Yoakam is selling out. No, I’ll tell you the exact reason this collaboration is happening. This is Hunt’s team and Music Row’s attempt to get us “haters” to like and endorse Hunt.

They truly believe that throwing Hunt together with Yoakam will get Hunt doubters to like him. “Oh he’s singing with Yoakam. That means he’s one of us! That makes him country.” Hell no! How stupid and gullible do you think I am? You’re just making me hate Hunt even more. What you’re giving me with this pairing is trying to make me eat dog shit laced with bacon. But guess what? It still tastes like shit. Just give me the bacon and put the dog shit where it belongs. This is a collaboration that absolutely nobody was clamoring for. Traditionalists hate Hunt and Hunt fans have no idea who Yoakam is. Just wait for the tweets on Farce The Music’s Twitterfails of May. There will be plenty of tweets wondering who Yoakam is. I can also imagine that many Hunt fans who heard Yoakam’s music would call it old and boring.

The Hunt defenders and Music Row can kick and scream until they’re blue in the face about how “country” Hunt is and how he’s evolving the genre. They can try to pitch me on every angle on how Hunt is great and why I should like him. But you need to save your breath. Stop trying to make me like Hunt because it isn’t going to happen. His music is straight pop being sold as country music. He looks like a Euro disc jockey. Everything about him is a disgrace to country music and its history. If he was doing all of this while in the pop genre, I would have no problem with Hunt. But he’s not. Hunt is lying straight to my face with his music and his look by calling it country. It’s insulting on every level. I give Taylor Swift major props for finally moving to pop because she realized she was hurting her own brand by continuing to lie about her music. My advice to Hunt is to follow her lead and go to pop where he belongs. Don’t take your time like Swift did either.

Upcoming/Recent Country Music Releases

  • Reba McEntire will be coming out with her new album Love Somebody next Tuesday. You can currently stream it on iTunes Radio if you’re subscribed to the service. It’ll be interesting to see how much pop influences are present throughout the album.
  • Dwight Yoakam is also coming out with his new album next Tuesday, Second Hand Heart. You can stream that album on NPR at this link here. I’ve been really looking forward to giving this one a listen, Yoakam’s last album 3 Pears certainly impressed me. I’ll have a review on this soon.
  • Texas country artist Zane Williams will be coming out with a new album titled Texas Like That on Tuesday too. For those unfamiliar with Williams, he’s certainly one you need to check out. I came across him in 2013 when I heard his single “Overnight Success,” a great single about the life of a musician. While everyone will be paying attention to high-profile releases from Reba and Dwight, this album may be better than both of theirs.
  • George Strait’s new single will be called “Let It Go.” No, it’s not the Frozen song. Although Strait would maybe be able to make that work. Anyway we’ll get our first listen of it at the ACM Awards and it’s going for adds at radio on April 20.
  • Cole Swindell is coming out with a new single titled “Let Me See Ya Girl” and it’s also going for adds on April 20. This one is as bad as it sounds. Trust me. Just wait for my review…
  • Toby Keith is back with a new single, “35 MPH Town.” It’s bad enough I have to deal with a new Swindell single and now there’s a Keith single on top of it. Sigh.

Throwback Thursday Song

Reba McEntire & Vince Gill – “The Heart Won’t Lie” – I’ve been listening to this song a lot ever since last week’s past pulse of mainstream country music. It’s Reba in her prime and Vince. How could you not like this song?

Non-Country Song of the Week

Ludacris – “Ocean Skies” – It’s 2015 and Ludacris put out a good song. In fact his entire new album Ludaversal was shockingly good. I never thought I would enjoy Ludacris music in 2015. Then again rap music, unlike country music, in 2015 has been great. Shoutout to Mark Grondin at Spectrum Pulse for his review of the album convincing me to give it a listen.

Tweet of the Week

Well played Cake Bowen. I point this out in my upcoming review of “Don’t It.”

An iTunes Review That Will Make You Face Palm

WTF Canaan Smith Review

This was left under Canaan Smith’s new self-titled EP. I only have three words for this review: What the fuck?

That’s it for the Hodgepodge this week! Be sure to sound off in the comments! 

21 thoughts on “The Hodgepodge: Stop Trying To Make Me Like Sam Hunt

  1. Derek Hudgin April 9, 2015 / 11:20 am

    Sam Hunt to his haters: “I don’t have to make you love me, I just want to take your time.” And that’s exactly what he’ll do with his forced duet with Dwight Yoakam. I applaud Sam for his honesty…. I want to believe that Hunt/Yoakam don’t want to do this duet just as much as we don’t want them too.

    Anyways, I heard Zane Williams’ new song “Jayton and Jill” on the radio today on my way to work, and I loved it. It’s an awesome song. I’m not too familiar with his catalog, but I’m excited to hear the new album. Also, that Cake Bowen twitter account is great. That Billy Currington tweet is just plain gold.

    And I have to believe that Brother Jervel isn’t actually a human, or at least a human capable of being in a place to express his opinion without supervision. That or he’s just a terrible troll.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AL April 9, 2015 / 11:44 am

    The good news is Yoakam’s new album “Second Hand Heart” is every bit as good as “3 Pears,” and probably even better. It’s certainly better than anything that passes as “country” these days and I’d argue it’s one of the better rock albums released in a LONG time. I think you’ll enjoy it.

    As far as the Yoakam/Hunt duet goes, it wouldn’t surprise me if Dwight is perfectly aware who Sam Hunt is. In recent interviews, Yoakam has had every opportunity to bash on the current state of country music and he simply hasn’t, and not because of his ignorance to the music. My point being – Yoakam is a musical genius and he will somehow pull this off.

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  3. Scotty J April 9, 2015 / 11:53 am

    Reba McEntire had some really good videos with some big names in them. She had Huey Lewis as her husband in ‘Is There Life Out There’ and another good one is her duet with Linda Davis ‘Does He Love You’ with a bizarre appearance by Rob Reiner. On the other hand her video for ‘Whoever’s In New England’ may be the most cheesy eighties video you will ever see with a very strange message in the end in my opinion.

    And I know it’s April but a great Vince Gill video is “Blue Christmas’ with Vince leading his unit into to an abandoned church during World War II.

    Unfortunately it seems like these kind of well thought out videos seem to be gone from country music as well. I guess that is collateral damage from the loss of the story song in general.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Raymond April 9, 2015 / 12:20 pm

    Sam Hunt the worst thing in country music since nothing. Taylor Swift had respect and had a decent personality in most of her songs at least she sounds engaged like she actually cares Sam Hunt though comes off purely arrogant and not pleasant at all it’s vomit inducing. When I saw the Sam Hunt/ Dwight Yoakam pairing I passed out. Not kidding I fell asleep for a few hours and didn’t wake up for a while when I saw it I just couldn’t stop laughing. I’m a hater or whatever of Sam I tell them kiss my f*cking *ss. Here’s the problem with Sam Hunt and his influence. Rock and Country go well together: Example Trouble,Homegrown,Drinking Class. Country-Pop can work well together provided you keep some of the country My Mistake,Something In The Water,Wild Child, Hell Love Me Like You Mean It despite being pure pop you can’t deny Kelsea sounds like she’s having fun and she has a lot of charisma and personality. This is what Sam lacks personality. Country R&B Rap Hip Hop just that doesn’t go well with country and to be honest I just don’t how made the ripple effect of Sam Hunts popularity will be.

    I’m looking forward to Reba’s album I have a good feeling Going Out Like That will be an outsider. George Straight song I’m looking forward too. I heard Cole Swindells song to be honest it’s garbage the amount of autotune sexism an d trash makes me wanna puke.

    I’ll try and hear Reba’s song with Vince Gill I’m looking forward to hearing it I’ll report back.

    I don’t still understand your problem with Don’t It its not good but it’s not bad I don’t mind it that much. Regardless that tweet though still got me to snicker a little.

    As for that review Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson could probably care less about Canaans music. I never heard the EP but I’m gonna take Zachs word for it and skip it. Canaan is probably the new artist right now that I just straight up forget. Honest key that reviewer needs to make sense.

    Nice Solid Hodgepoge.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Josh Schott April 9, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Also just announced today: Alan Jackson’s new album will be coming out on July 17. It will be called Angels & Alcohol, with the majority of the songs written by Jackson himself. Of note: This will be one of the first major country albums to be released on a Friday, which will be the customary date for all music releases starting in July.

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    • Scotty J April 9, 2015 / 1:52 pm

      It will be very interesting to see how radio treats the new song by George Strait and eventually a single from Alan Jackson. Their recent track record at radio has been not good by their very high standards but with so many people talking about balance in styles and the like this will be a good test. If they are good songs and comfortably within their usual styles it could be a very clarifying moment.

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      • Josh Schott April 9, 2015 / 2:43 pm

        Yes that’s a good point and I’m intrigued to see how they perform on radio too. Strait seemed to get some help on his last run on radio based on the fact that he was retiring from major touring, so we’ll see how much that affected his last run this time. Jackson has been off radio longer and his last album being a bluegrass one didn’t net him any singles. If Jackson and Strait would do well on radio it could really make a difference.

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      • Scotty J April 9, 2015 / 3:28 pm

        I agree Strait probably has a better chance of success because he has never really veered from his tried and true approach while Jackson has ventured off more with gospel and bluegrass albums.

        But I will predict that both of their albums will sell better than any number of bros with #1 hits on their albums.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Lorenzo April 9, 2015 / 3:59 pm

      hell yeah!! I’ve been waiting for Alan Jackson to finally release a brand new album! I’ve absolutely loved his bluegrass effort but I was also expecting some radio singles. I hope radio will play his music, but I don’t understand how Long Way to Go only peaked at #24. it’s a fun and upbeat song, it should’ve been a top 5 hit. and So You don’t Have to Love me Anymore was downright amazing but we know that country radio hates ballads.

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  6. fromthewordsofbr April 9, 2015 / 4:00 pm

    “What you’re giving me with this pairing is trying to make me eat dog sh!t laced with bacon. But guess what? It still tastes like sh!t. Just give me the bacon and put the dog sh!t where it belongs.”

    ROFLOL! That might be your best phrasing yet, Josh!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Zack April 9, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Josh, Sam Hunt is a danger to country music. He’s already spread like a disease. He got to my hero, Gary Allan, Thomas Rhett’s new pile of dog shit smells like Sam Hunt, and dear god have you guys heard this new song by a new girl at EMI? Names Haley Georgia and her song “Ridiculous” has to be THE WORST song ever. What the fuck is happening to the genre?!?
    Bro Country was bad enough. This new countrypolitan shit can go to hell! Thank God George Strait and Alan Jackson are coming back. They probably won’t make a dent at radio, but you know what? That doesn’t matter, what matters is that I know these two will produce solid, genuine COUNTRY music.

    At least Toby Keith’s new song doesn’t (seem) to hint at alcohol….
    Really excited for Dwight’s new album. Josh is right, Dwight is probably only doing it to promote his new album (which based off two tracks I’ve heard, sounds NOTHING like Pop, thank God). I really like Dwoght so I wanna hope that this will be ok.

    Saw that Cake Bowen tweet, loved it haha. I don’t really dislike Don’t It but it is bland. Its like a 5/10 to my ears as I do find Currington’s delivery good.

    And good god, did Lil’ Dale from Saving Country Music write that review?!?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond April 9, 2015 / 7:05 pm

      Uh Zach I’m gonna give a list of songs that are godawful and are they worse than Ridiculous
      Donkey
      Drink To That All Night
      Sun Daze
      Girl In Your Truck Song
      Cruise
      This Is How We Roll
      Truck Yeah
      That’s My Kind Of Night
      Doing Country Right
      God Made Girls
      Boys Round Here
      Get Me Some Of That
      Burning It Down
      Dirt Road Anthem
      There is no way in f*cking h*ll that Ridiculous could be worse than those Garbage Fires it just can’t get worse than those songs.

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      • Zack April 9, 2015 / 7:22 pm

        Well Raymond, according to your words, it seems like you’ve never heard it.

        You’ve been warned. How the hell this girl is on EMI I don’t know…

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      • Scotty J April 9, 2015 / 10:15 pm

        So she’s basically just a Kesha impersonator from what it sounds like.

        This really is what happens when a genre has no gatekeepers.

        To paraphrase a famous quote what is needed is for someone to stand atop country music and a say ‘stop’.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Raymond April 9, 2015 / 7:42 pm

      AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Passes Out)
      (Wakes Up)
      Oh my gosh I couldn’t make it all the way I made it 1:30 I puked I feel like I died inside. If I hear this song on the radio I’m just gonna kill my radio. Honestly at least Raelynn I was willing to think hmm maybe she has potential. At least Kelsea Ballerini has agood general singing voice

      Josh if you listen to this song you’ll never be the same it’s worse than getting hit by a bus. I’d rather be forced to meet FGL in person and compliment Sun Daze.

      JOSH DONT LISTEN TO THIS ITS GARBAGE. TRUST ME

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      • Pete Marshall April 10, 2015 / 12:52 am

        That song is torture 0/10 My ears are bleeding and I want to puke right now. I want to pull my hair out. I will listen to George Strait to cleanse out my ears. this song is pure garbage and I rather listen to Sun Daze and God Made Girls than this piece of garbage.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Derek Hudgin April 10, 2015 / 3:19 pm

      I’m absolutely in utter shock that we live in a world where people think “Ridiculous” is a song worth writing/recording. Just WHY?! Oh my God, that was awful. The debate isn’t “is this country or not” no the debate should be “is this a song, or just noise coming from a room full of two year olds trying to make music?”

      Unbelievably terrible. Right on par with RaeLynn’s “Better Do It.”

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      • Raymond April 10, 2015 / 3:30 pm

        I heard Better Do It. Better Do It is slightly and when I mean slightly I mean bye about an inch better cause pardon my Bulgarian but Raelynn doesn’t come off as a complete and udder b*tch. Where as Haley Georgia does regardless both songs should burn in h*ll

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  8. Pete Marshall April 9, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    I do not like Sam Hunt. Cole Swindell’s new song sounds like shit and Toby Keith’s new song will flop like his last 2 previous singles.

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  9. DimM April 10, 2015 / 11:01 am

    Zane Williams is a great singer and a great Texan guy.We need more artists like him!

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  10. BradI December 9, 2015 / 1:06 am

    I cannot begin to tell you how much I despise Sam Hunt and his music. Even more after the CMA’s. I googled “I hate Sam Hunt” and it brought me here. I’m happy to see that I’m not alone.
    Every time his crap songs come on the radio, I can’t change the channel fast enough.
    Thanks for giving me this opportunity to rant.

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