Sam Hunt is returning to the recording studio for his long awaited second album this year, and at Country Jam 2019 in Grand Junction, Colorado, he filled The Boot in on what fans may be able to expect. While he was at it, he also opened up about the pressure he’s felt to score more hits.
“More recently, I’ve gone back to just picking up the guitar and writing songs,” Hunt says. “Typically, when you pick up a guitar and write on the guitar, there’s just a different spirit about it, and they tend to go more singer-songwriter, more introspective … more traditional in terms of the genre, so that’s definitely where the songs are leaning at this point. But I still feel the pressure because of the songs in the past that have created kind of an expectation, so that’s what’s been tough.”
The breakout hit maker made a triple-platinum debut with 2014’s pop and R&B influenced, Montevallo, and then followed up with the biggest song of 2017, “Body Like a Backroad.” But since releasing “Downtown’s Dead” in 2018, he’s been largely silent, staying off the road and out of the spotlight while rumors flew about whether or not he would continue to make music at all — even as fans clamored for more.
“Touring and living the lifestyle that comes along with being a new artist in country music … does something to your brain,” he admits. “I wanted to re-center myself a little bit, because I felt like I was just — it was sensory overload for, like, three or four years.”
Hunt says he re-focused on personal needs during his downtime, reconnecting with family, getting married and spending time outdoors, among other things — “doing anything other than going to the studio, getting on the bus, getting onstage.”
“Those things have been good for [my] overall well-being, mental well-being,” he says. “I’m starting to feel a lot more like I did before I got into all this, and that’s been helpful for me.”
Still no word on when fans can expect to hear any of Hunt’s new tunes.