To See Sam Hunt’s Real Talent, You Just Have to Look “Between the Pines”

Sam Hunt has become known for his “metro-country” hits such as “Break Up in a Small Town,” “Ex to See” and, of course, “Take Your Time.” Before the release of his album, “Montevallo,” however, Sam Hunt’s style was far from the metro-country sounds of his radio hits. While Sam Hunt is undoubtedly an extremely talented artist, he is often criticized for not being “truly country.” His radio giant “Take Your Time” may lack the traditional characteristics of country music, but his acoustic mixtape (which has recently been released on iTunes and Spotify) reveals a very different side of Hunt. There is quite a variety of songs on Hunt’s mixtape, Between the Pines, from the acoustic first-versions of hits such as “Ex to See” and “Raised on it” along with songs not polished by the Nashville machine and released on Montevallo. My personal favorite, I Met a Girl, is a masterfully written love song about a girl Hunt just met, and while it has yet to be released as a polished single, I have few doubts that it will eventually show up on the iTunes charts under Hunt’s name. Between the Pines is a completely different animal than the mainstream music Hunt has been releasing recently. All of the songs have been written by the artist, and vary in style as Hunt experimented with different sounds on the mixtape. From Vacation to Saturday Night, each song has its own character and its own style, the only constant being Hunt’s natural voice, instead of the altered version of his singing often seen on his mass-released tracks.

Before his career as a popular musician, Sam Hunt was a successful songwriter. Writing songs for artists such as Billy Currington, Keith Urban, Reba McEntire and Kenny Chesney, it is evident in Hunt’s mixtape just how strong his songwriting skills truly are. These skills really shine through in Between the Pines, and are much stronger than what is showcased on Montevallo. Yes, Take Your Time is a great song, with an excellent music video to go with it, but there is no comparison between the original, raw sounds of the tracks on Between the Pines compared to Montevallo and its cookie-cutter Nashville style. Sam Hunt’s real strengths lie in his songwriting abilities and his un-altered voice. Paired with just a guitar, it is easy for the listener to see how much talent Hunt possesses.

The Nashville music machine has been extremely successful at pumping out mainstream country artists who end up gaining incredible success, however, in the case of Sam Hunt, who has been a songwriter for some of the best, he really shines in an acoustic setting and when he is given room to experiment with and write his own music. I highly recommend that fans of Sam Hunt listen to Between the Pines, now that it has been recently released on Spotify and iTunes. Montevallo is a good album in its own right, but to really see another aspect of Hunt and what he can truly be as an artist, all it takes is a single listen of Between the Pines.

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One Response to To See Sam Hunt’s Real Talent, You Just Have to Look “Between the Pines”

  1. Tyler Dial

    Matt, what a great tribute to an incredible mixtape. Who showed that to you? Just kidding.. I already know that answer. You did a great job explaining why the mixtape is better: it’s rawness. When the production and editing is limited, it truly brings out his songwriting. I remember finding this mixtape when he had 1,000 followers. Right then and there, I knew he’d be successful as his own artist. I just hope that he records “Vandalizer” and “Vacation” on his next record.

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