This Week’s News (and Worst New Song)
The old superstition about New Year’s is that what someone does on New Year’s Eve will forshadow what they do for the entirety of the year. If that’s true, then 2017 is going to be known as the Year of Embarrassingly Honest Songs From Sam Hunt.
The singer dropped a surprise song on Soundcloud on New Year’s Eve called “Drinkin’ Too Much” in an attempt to win back his ex-girlfriend and “Montevallo” muse Hannah Lee Fowler. It looks like Hunt’s New Year’s Eve wish came true—as of Jan. 3, various tabloids were reporting that Hunt and Fowler were engaged.
First, credit where credit is due: “Drinkin’ Too Much” is refreshingly honest, and the song never attempts to betray Hunt’s signature sound. Meaning, he’s not going to try to win back a woman by suddenly grabbing a guitar and singing an acoustic jam (although Hunt did release an alternate version, “Drinkin’ Too Much: 8pm”, which actually features a guitar and will probably be used as the “country airplay” version). Hunt clearly meant the song as an apology to Fowler for whatever wrongs he committed, as he stated on Twitter the night of its release:
The song begins with a spoken-word intro (slam poem? Freestyle ramble?) reminiscent of Drake on “Take Care,” if Drake used a MacBook to make beats and didn’t care about following any sort of song structure at all. In it, Hunt rhymes “me” with “me” five times and even lets a curse word loose to let the listener know he’s serious: “Go for more and I don’t give a s—-, I never used to talk, I never used to talk like this.” It sounds like Hunt recorded the song while drinking too much; at one point, he desperately offers to pay Fowler’s student loans with the money he made off of writing songs about her.
It all feels cloying and manipulative. The song begins with Hunt’s regret at shattering Fowler’s anonymity and ends with him addressing her by name and refusing to accept that the relationship is over (“Hannah Lee, I’m on my way to you…No, there ain’t no way we’re through”). That, plus the teensy little detail that the song was released publicly, feels invasive and off-putting, and it would feel the same way if it was released by an actual country artist. But I guess since Hunt is engaged now, the song wasn’t off-putting to the one person he needed to impress.
Hunt has said he is at work on a sophomore album full of “more vulnerable and honest songs.” Ugh.
A Chaser: This Week’s Best New Song
I present Aaron Watson’s Lone Star State ode “Texas Lullaby.” Here, you will find actual lyrics set to a beat, actual melodies and (gasp!) a guitar. Watson’s new album “Vaquero” drops Feb. 24.
This Week’s Best Country Show in Austin
Technically, this show’s not in Austin, but it’s worth the drive. Dale Watson and Ray Benson will be playing Gruene Hall in New Braunfels Saturday the 7th to celebrate the release of their dual album, “Dale and Ray,” out Jan. 6. The Asleep at the Wheel frontman and Austin mainstay have been working the same rooms for decades now, so it’s only right they should put out an album together. The album will include new songs as well as covers of The Louvin Brothers’ “I Wish You Knew,” Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s “Write Your Own Songs,” and a Buck Owens cover. Doors open at 8 p.m. with a show at 10. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here or at the door.
This is the Country Music Roundup, a weekly blog where we’ll give you the latest news in country music releases and local country shows. For a more in-depth analysis of the genre and where it’s headed, check back with our weekly Gone Country blog every week.
Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know on Twitter @jakeharris4 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.