Sam Hunt: ‘Montevallo’ Album Review

Singer-songwriter Sam Hunt is preparing to release his debut studio album, titled ‘Montevallo,’ on October 27th. ‘Montevallo‘ is not only the name of the album but also the name of a small town in Alabama near where he attended college (at the University of Alabama at Birmingham). Hunt has traveled a long road to this album. From being a college quarterback and an undrafted free agent on the Kansas City Chiefs to even parking cars and helping people get to their appointments at a hospital. He then got into songwriting which resulted in cuts by Kenny Chesney (‘Come Over’), Billy Currington (‘We Are Tonight’), and Keith Urban (‘Cop Car’). In 2013, he independently released ‘Raised On It’ and later released a free 15-song mixtape, titled ‘Between the Pines,’ on his website. So to say that this album is a culmination of a long road and hours of hard work would be an understatement. This is what Sam Hunt has worked for. We, here at New England Country Music, were given an advanced listen of the album. Check out our review of the album with our impression and favorite lyric from each song.

1.)  ‘Take Your Time’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally.
Impression: Sam starts the album with what I call a ‘storytelling song.’ For the majority of the song, Sam is telling a story in a near-normal but extremely sultry voice. He does sing the chorus, however. It’s a cute song about desiring to be with someone on a deep level.
Favorite Lyric: I don’t wanna blow your phone up. I just wanna blow your mind. I don’t have to take your heart. I just wanna take your time…

2.)  ‘Leave The Night On’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally.
Impression: ‘Leave the Night On’ has been Sam’s most successful song so far. The top-ten song is fun, upbeat, and full of tongue-twisting lyrics. It’s the type of song that you can see Sam enjoy playing. It’s a good jam session song.
Favorite Lyric: Girl, you got the beat right, killin’ in your Levis; High on your loving’s got me buzzin’ like a streetlight. It’s still early out in Cali, baby, don’t you wanna rally again…

3.)  ‘House Party’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, and Jerry Flowers.
Impression: ‘House Party’ is an unbeat song about a girl who doesn’t want to go out so he says he will come over and have a ‘house party.’ Not a rager, per se, but just a little house party for them. When Sam recently did an album preview party in Nashville, he actually held a house party with beer pong, corn hole, and kiddie pools full of ice and beer. Only question is- where was our invite!?
Favorite Lyric: Let’s have a house party, we don’t need nobody. Turn your TV off, break that boom-box out…

4.)  ‘Break Up In A Small Town’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, and Shane McAnally.
Impression: Some people will say that this song is not country. The song features country music lyrics but the sound of the song doesn’t have a real country sound, to which some will comment. But I’m a firm believer in the fact that music has evolved over the years- all genres of music. I do like this song a lot as it tells a story of a breakup and the girl getting with a guy that he knows and everyone else knows about it since they are in a small town. Some good ole small town drama. Everyone knows everything and everyone. It happens. Don’t let this one scare you away because it doesn’t ‘sound’ like country.
Favorite Lyric: But there’s only so many streets, so many lightsI swear it’s like I can’t even leave my house…

5.)  ‘Single for the Summer’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne, and Shane McAnally.
Impression:  Similar to ‘Break Up In A Small Town,’ this song features ‘country lyrics’ but has a R&B sound. It will be a relatable song to fans because there are a lot of guys out there who make sure to be single for the summer. One of my favorite songs on the album.
Favorite Lyric: Blame it on the bikinis, party girls, and martinis, and the sunshine. Private school daughters who never go in the water, keeping their hair just right…

6.)  ‘Ex to See’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Josh Osborne, and Matt Ramsey.
Impression: I love this song! It’s a song with attitude that tells a story of a girl basically using him against her ex. She wants her ex to see her with him. I think this has a lot of promise to be a big song for Sam.
Favorite Lyric: Fixing your make up like its about to go down. And he walks in, it all makes sense. Suddenly you’re climbing all up next to me…

7.)  ‘Make You Miss Me’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Josh Osborne, and Matt Ramsey.
Impression: Love how the beginning of the song features some light piano and you can hear the piano throughout the song. It gives the track a depth unlike most of the other songs on the album. Based off the title of the song, it’s pretty obvious what the song is about. But I love the lyrics that Sam wrote for this song. Hands down one of the best tracks on the album.
Favorite Lyric: Make you wish that you were sleeping in my shirt. Lie about my jacket and tell everyone its yours. When your phone rings after midnight and you’re thinking maybe it’s me. Gonna make you miss me…

8.)  ‘Cop Car’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, and Matt Jenkins.
Impression: Y’all probably know this song because of Keith Urban’s cut of it. But Sam Hunt wrote the song and I honestly like Sam’s rendition of ‘Cop Car’ better than Keith’s. Sam brings more to the song, more passion, more depth, more emotion. You can tell it’s his ‘baby.’ Love this song!
Favorite Lyric: Your daddy’s gonna kill me. But if I survive tonight, I wouldn’t change one thing…

9.)  ‘Raised On It’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Zach Crowell, and Jerry Flowers.
Impression: It was pretty apparent that Sam believed in ‘Raised On It’ from early on, as he originally released it independently. The song full of fun lyrics and is a tribute to how he grew up, how he lives his life, and how he was raised. The song is realistic as it’s all real life stuff that many of us do in our everyday lives. It’s a fun song, and it’s a good song. I’m surprised that this hasn’t been a bigger hit for Sam than it has actually been.
Favorite Lyric: Three guard at the barber shopDuckin’ from your ex at the 4-way stopTurn the music down when you’re passing the cops…

10.) ‘Speakers’ – Written by Sam Hunt, Kylie Sackley, and Brandon Hood.
Impression: Want a sexy song? Listen to ‘Speakers.’ The ladies will love this one as Sam sings the track in a very smooth and sultry voice. The song is all about being with a girl in the back of his truck in the middle of the woods… and, well, you know.
Favorite Lyric: Love in the back of the truck with the tailgate down, just us and the speakers on…

My take: it’s a very good album that features some incredibly-written songs. While Sam is associated with being a country artist, I think there are a number of songs on the album that some will say aren’t country, because they feature electric sounds and are missing a traditional, vintage country sound. However, the songs have country lyrics and meanings but just are missing that twang. The fact that these songs are written off of stories and portray Sam’s upbringing allow the album to still be country. The album portrays Sam’s wide range of talents from singing and rapping (at times), but especially song writing and it also shows his upbringing in Georgia to his college football days at UAB, where he naturally listed to rap music as that is often what is played in locker rooms. However, this also seems to be a trend in country music as Jason Aldean’s ‘Burnin’ It Down’ falls in that same bucket, and that song hit the number two spot on the US Country Airplay charts. So it worked for Aldean, pushing the envelope like he is, may just work for Sam Hunt as well. If you want to listen to an album of one of the more talented individuals in music, make sure you purchase Sam Hunt’s ‘Montevallo.

Make sure you follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and also his website.

Sam will make two stops in New England in November while on tour with Kip Moore and Charlie Worsham on the CMT: Up in Smoke tour. The tour will stop at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston on November 21st and the Hampton Beach Casino in Hampton on November 22nd.

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