Hunting for answers

Is Sam Hunt the singer you want to introduce to your ‘Kinfolks’?


Photo from Metropolitan Nashville Police Department

Sam Hunt’s DUI happened a little over a month after releasing the hit song, ‘Kinfolks.’

Emily DiSalvo, News Editor

Just a little over a month after releasing his latest smash hit single, “Kinfolks,” America’s only country talk-singer almost smashed into a bunch of other cars as he drove the wrong way down a one-way street.

When Nashville police pulled over his swerving vehicle on Nov. 20, a breathalyzer test revealed a blood alcohol count of .173%, double the legal limit of .08% in Tennessee. Two empty beer cans sat on the seat beside him. His eyes were bloodshot and when the police asked him for an I.D., he handed over his credit card. 

Not a super good look for the singer seeking to make a comeback after months of dormancy. He released his last big hit, “Downtown’s Dead” in 2018, and fans like me began to think he was dead, too. 

And he could have been, had three other drivers not called 911 after seeing his car careening in the wrong direction.

The release of “Kinfolks” in October brought die-hard Sam Hunt fans to their cowboy-boot-clad feet, but his return was tainted by his poor decision. This song was exactly the tune fans needed after 18 months of searching for other country artists to replace him only to come up empty-handed. However, it’s hard to enjoy it as much when you think about the lives he put in danger after hopping into his car as intoxicated as he was.

Hunt’s version of country music is a unique combination of talking slow and soft, almost rapping the lyrics, before breaking into a catchy and bold chorus. He sings the kind of songs you mumble to yourself while you walk around your house putting away laundry or drying dishes.

And over time, the lines resonate with you. His lyrics are clever. In “Kinfolks,” Hunt explains that he just met this girl but already wants to introduce her to his friends and family back home, known as his “Kinfolks.” A cross between the spontaneity of Carly Rae Jepsen’s, “Call Me Maybe” and the coziness of Chris Lane and Tori Kelly’s “Take Back Home Girl,” the lyrics are feel-good, yet meaningful.

In his opening rap-style section, Hunt sings, “I ain’t ever had a type, having a type takes two, but I know what I like and you’re the only one of you.” This is the kind of lyric that would sound silly in any other context, but from the bearded mouth of Sam Hunt, it rolls off his tongue. It rhymes, but it’s not cheesy. It reminds me of one his original songs, “Take Your Time,” which starts out with the same sort of fast-talking rhyming before breaking into the chorus.

The lyrics continue by explaining how he previously conceded that he’d never find love but bumping into this girl made him have second thoughts. He sings, “Gave up on it, but honey you got my hopes up.”

Sam Hunt, I pretty much gave up on you. You disappeared for 18 months, but, honey, this song did get my hopes up. It’s been playing nonstop in my car as I drive from one location to another, completely sober, sans beer cans and in the right-way lane.

That’s because that’s how you’re supposed to drive. Responsibly. This is even more important when you have a fan base of swooning teenage girls who look up to you as a role model and potential celebrity husband. As one of these girls, I can attest that the mug shot definitely wasn’t your best look.

I’m going to keep listening to your music and rooting for you. I’m going to introduce your music to my kinfolks. But you have to make smart decisions. I bet you’ve made more than enough money on this song already to pay for your next Uber ride home.