Sam Hunt’s thumping summer anthem “House Party” is enjoying yet another reign at Number One on the Hot Country charts, and, to celebrate, the boundary-pushing singer headed to New York City to perform the hit for his Tonight Show debut. With a three-piece band in tow, Hunt showed off his ever-growing stage presence, bounding out into the audience and luring them to clap along, ending with a hop on to the drum riser.
“How fun is that?” Fallon asked the audience. Plenty fun, clearly – “House Party,” from Montevallo, has been on the charts for 34 weeks, forcing kings like Luke Bryan to tread in his wake. Hunt, in fact, is the first country artist with three Number One tracks from a major-label debut since Zac Brown Band’s The Foundation in 2008 — with “Leave the Night On” as well as the slow grooving “Take Your Time,” which still sits in the Top 10. Hunt owes a lot of his longevity to the creative fluidity of his music: If you can’t latch on to the (sometimes rather buried) country licks, there’s plenty of catchy pop hooks or R&B threads to soak in and dance to.
“When it comes to having the freedom to write a song that reaches its full potential,” Hunt, a former football star, tells Rolling Stone Country, “whether it’s a sound that reminds people of pop or whatever, if that [potential] comes from me just trying to write songs that I love and feel like will connect with people, then I am all for that. . . We should erase any preconceived notion before we listen to a song. Erase anything. Don’t assume you know anything about the person, because you deprive yourself of pleasure.”
Hunt, currently on tour with Lady Antebellum, also filmed an exclusive web-only version of the smoothly sing-talking “Breakup in a Small Town” for The Tonight Show, streaming below.
“I think country songs are truthful songs about life written by country people,” Hunt says. “But the beats and sounds will continue to evolve.”