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Sam Hunt Reflects on the Bold Honesty of ‘Southside’

The star says his wife, Hannah, helps make sure he doesn't go too far.

Written by Chris Parton
Sam Hunt Reflects on the Bold Honesty of ‘Southside’
NASHVILLE, TN - JUNE 07: Singer-songwriter Sam Hunt (L) and Hannah Lee Fowler (R) attend the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 7, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)

Sam Hunt scored his seventh country chart topper with “Hard to Forget” this summer, but it was a lighthearted jam in an album full of bold honesty.

Much of the Southside album the single came from dug deep into the gritty truth of Hunt’s personal life — from his own battles with the limelight to his marriage — putting Hunt in the company of country’s most autobiographical stars. But in Hunt’s case, he can sometimes get too real, he tells People, and that’s where his wife Hannah comes in.

“I run everything by her and make sure to get her sign-off,” Hunt he told the magazine in early September. “I’m not sure that I’m honest to the point that I need to run it by anybody other than my wife. She’s really big on authenticity, so sometimes I can get a little too big for my britches and write songs that are outside of my character. Not only my literal character, but even the character I might be able to pull off in a song. She cares to keep me honest when it comes to that as well, even when she’s not involved in the song … If I’m trying to do too much or getting out of my lane, she’s like, ‘Nah, you can’t go there, you need to dial it back in.'”

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Waiting it out

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Hunt released Southside after a long, six-year wait for new music this spring — just weeks after the nation shut down in the wake of COVID-19. But while that unlucky situation means he can’t go out and perform that new music, it does mean he can write some more of it. Much of Hunt’s Southside album was inspired by his relationship with Hannah, and now they’re spending more time together than ever.

“We’re both really independent people, so our time to ourselves or our time to pursue our own interests is really important,” Hunt says. “A lot of that stuff involves leaving the house and being around other people, so some of that has been put on pause, which has been fine, but we’ve figured out ways to cope with it. We figured out how much time we need to spend together to maintain a healthy relationship. We’ve got that balance down pretty well now.”

“We’ve grown a lot, and we’ve had a lot of great conversations because there’s nothing else to do but talk,” he goes on. “We’ve worked a lot of things out that we’ve brushed under the rug, so that’s been great.”

And with that in mind, Hunt says fans shouldn’t have to wait another six years for another batch of tunes. He’s not anywhere close to putting Southside behind him — it’s only been out a few months, after all, and already includes a Number One hit — but the pandemic has given him plenty of time to work.

“It’s hard to say whether or not the music will have reached as many people, considering the circumstances that we put the album out under, but as it turns out, it created plenty of time to work on new music,” he explains. “So there’s no excuse not to be working now to help get my music out sooner than later going forward.”