Sam Hunt Covers Reba, Trisha, Mariah + More During Ryman Show
Sam Hunt brought the party to Nashville's Ryman Auditorium on Tuesday night (Feb. 9). Fittingly dubbed the 'Sam Hunt CRS House Party,' the singer closed night two of Country Radio Seminar with a high-energy 70-minute performance that had attendees on their feet and dancing throughout his entire set at the Mother Church of Country Music.
Hunt kicked off the night with "Raised on It" as blue and purple spotlights beat down on him. Dressed in tight black pants, a white T-shirt, jean jacket which came off as soon as the show heated up, leopard boots and a baseball cap, the singer instantly had the Ryman audience on their feet for what would become one of the most talked about shows of CRS week.
Former tourmate Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum surprised the crowd midway through the set while Hunt and his band sat center stage on stools. Hunt, Kelley and guitarist Tyrone Carreker traded verses on a spirited acoustic medley of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can’t Make You Love Me," Reba's "Fancy," Trisha Yearwood's "She’s in Love With the Boy," Destiny Child's "Say My Name," Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby,” Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine."
Halfway through Hunt's performance, UMG Nashville Chairman/CEO Mike Dungan walked on stage with a plaque to present to Hunt. The plaque recognized his debut album Montevallo going double-platinum with 2 million copies sold. Clearly touched by the honor, Hunt thanked country radio for accepting him and introducing him to other artists which he said allowed him to be more intimately involved in the country music family.
"I fell in love with country music because of country radio," he said.
Later, he expressed his love for traditional country artists like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings and shared the difficulties he faced after crafting his sound before he sang Jennings' poignant "Belle of the Ball."
"I realized I could either try to sound like Waylon Jennings or be like Waylon Jennings, but I couldn't do both," Hunt remarked. So, he charged ahead with his own musical style and soon found his place in the country world.
His set included hit after hit with "Take Your Time," "Leave the Night On" and "House Party," as well as show closer "Break Up in a Small Town." As he walked off the stage and CRS attendees headed for the doors, one thing was certain: for one night, Sam Hunt effortlessly converted the Mother Church to a house party.
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