If you do not consider yourself a country music fan, you should think again. Sam Hunt’s “15 in a 30 Tour” is what I call “alternative country.” Unlike other country artists like Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and Tim McGraw, Hunt’s music is a combo of his two favorite genres of music: Country & R&B. The Georgia native as a child grew up listening to country music, but when he got older his cousins introduced him to hip hop & R&B. Hunt shared with the auidence how many Nashville producers did not like his music early on in his career and how they thought he would not make it in the country music world.
However, four years later, Hunt is headlining his first big tour with opening acts Ryan Follese, Chris Janson and Maren Morris. On Tuesday August 15, 2017 at the Greek Theater I was there to see one wonderful show.
Opener Ryan Follese, previously the lead singer of rock/punk band Hot Chelle Rae. Started the night with his song “Float Your Boat” from his self-titled EP, which was released last year. The 30 years old, whose parents are both country songwriters, left rock and started a country music career in 2016. Follese continued his set with “Put a Label on It,” and “Lose a Little Sleep,” which also on his EP. Follese closed his set with, “Tonight, Tonight,” which is Hot Chelle Rae’s best-known song.
Chris Janson was next up and he got the party going again. He started his set with “Redneck Life” from his “Fix a Drink EP” that was released in June. During this song he was playing both the acoustic guitar and harmonica. He then went into “Everybody” also from his new EP. He is an artistic and well-rounded singer/songwriter, and it shows a lot while he is performing live. Janson interacted with the auidence and was getting people up on their feet and dancing and singing along with him. He sang covers of “I Love This Life” which he wrote for country band LoCash and “Truck Yeah” by Tim McGraw. He even did a small drum solo during “Truck Yeah.” After singing his most popular song, “By Me a Boat,” he ended his set of the show with a cover of Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire.”
The last opening act of the night was Maren Morris. Morris played songs from her “Hero” album, which came out in June 2016. “Sugar”, “Just Another Thing” and “How It’s Done,” all show off her stunningly powerful voice. Next she did an acoustic verison of “I Could Use a Love Song,” which she called the “first vulnerable thing I’ve put on the radio waves.” Then she played a few of the audience favorites, “such as “80s Mercedes” and “My Church,” before ending with a mash up of “Second Wind” and Beyoncé’s song “Halo.” She and Hunt are making country/pop/R&B mashups a new music trend.
Lastly, Sam Hunt played and it was worth the wait. Of all the concerts I been to recently, Hunt had by far the best lighting and special effects to go along with his music. There are four moving panels with lights that are loomed above the stage. Then there are other times that song lyrics would appear so that fans can sing along. For his opening song he sang “Leave the Night On,” the words of this song appeared on each panel moving around just as fast as Hunt was jumping around from one side of the stage to the other. He then started to sing, “House Party” and “Raised on It.” Next, Hunt shared some personal stories from his life with the crowd, such as the story behind his next song “Cop Car.” This song is a slow pace kind of song, along with the rest of his set, which showcased his style of combining both country/R&B. Most of the songs going forward were a combo of singing the chorus, then singing verses or bridges. But this type of format, works for Hunt and show the importance to certain phrases as needed like in his songs like in “I Met A Girl’ and “Speakers.” He also created a build up, for the encore of his song “Break Up in a Small Town.” He remains close to his country roots by telling his own personal stories, but also opens this genre to a crossover with his R&B influence.
Hunt then performed his recent hit “Body Like a Back Road,” it was really cool to see him play it live. He then played “Take Your Time” and “Ex to See.” The stage then went dark for about a minute, before a while piano came on stage. Hunt came back out again, and played a piano solo and while the opening lines of “Make You Miss Me.” The rest of the band came back an out after the first verse. Lastly Hunt did a quick combo of “Break Up in a Small Town”/”Drinkin Too Much,” and then the lights went down on another wonderful country concert at the beautiful Greek Theater.