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Sam Hunt Cop Car

Sam Hunt Cop Car

Sam Hunt Cop Car

Love can be found in the strangest places, including the back of a cop car. That’s why Keith Urban‘s ‘Cop Car’ lyrics are so intriguing — and the best part? Co-songwriter Sam Hunt tells Taste of Country that the song, for the most part, is a true story.
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

We loved Sam Hunt’s music before we even knew his name—prior to releasing a debut album, the versatile singer/songwriter penned titanic hits for Kenny Chesney (“Come Over”), Billy Currington (“We Are Tonight”), and Keith Urban (“Cop Car”). On Hunt’s first full-length, he embraces Nashville’s exploratory contemporary spirit—effortlessly mixing heartfelt country lyrics, chart-ascending pop melodies, and streamlined R&B production. The album’s smash single “Leave the Night On” balances all three in a wildly catchy package. When Hunt tips the scales toward one element or another—like the half-spoken, Drake-inspired R&B of “Break Up in a Small Town” or the hard-partying country-pop of “Raised on It”—his incredible hooks make Montevallo irresistible.
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

iTunes Review We loved Sam Hunt’s music before we even knew his name—prior to releasing a debut album, the versatile singer/songwriter penned titanic hits for Kenny Chesney (“Come Over”), Billy Currington (“We Are Tonight”), and Keith Urban (“Cop Car”). On Hunt’s first full-length, he embraces Nashville’s exploratory contemporary spirit—effortlessly mixing heartfelt country lyrics, chart-ascending pop melodies, and streamlined R&B production. The album’s smash single “Leave the Night On” balances all three in a wildly catchy package. When Hunt tips the scales toward one element or another—like the half-spoken, Drake-inspired R&B of “Break Up in a Small Town” or the hard-partying country-pop of “Raised on It”—his incredible hooks make Montevallo irresistible.
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

“Cop Car,” Keith Urban (Hunt, Crowell, Matt Jenkins)”We were just kinda no-name dudes at the time. We were lucky enough to write a good song, and Keith loved the demo. He reached out and asked me if I would just produce it. I have no idea why he said, 'Yeah, just let that guy do it,' but he did, and I’m forever grateful. I'm still kinda known as 'the “Cop Car” guy' around town, which I’m thrilled and honored to be.”
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

Hunt grew up in Cedartown, Georgia, about an hour from Atlanta, and he has cited the city’s fertile R. & B. scene as an early influence. Back in his songwriter days, he released an independent album, “Between the Pines.” He called it an “acoustic mixtape,” and the casual performances—some of which seemed to have been recorded in bars, or maybe at house parties—showed off Hunt’s love of quick, syncopated vocal rhythms. Seven of those songs reappear on “Montevallo,” which is Nashville-slick, but with a light touch. “Make You Miss Me”—as in “Girl, I’m gonna”—is a breakup song with lyrics that might sound resentful if they were set to a less wistful tune, or if they were delivered by a singer less willing to play the lovestruck loser. And in “Take Your Time,” a No. 1 hit this spring, Hunt begins each verse by speaking the lyrics instead of singing them—a technique that owes as much to old-school country-music talkers like Tex Williams and Conway Twitty as it does to contemporary hip-hop stars. Hunt is the latest in a string of hunky young singers who have populated country-radio playlists in recent years. Their convivial and flirtatious songs are sometimes called “bro-country,” a description invariably wielded as an insult, and not always fairly. But if Hunt is a bro he is a sensitive one, honing an imaginative and inclusive sound that may well take him beyond the bros—and possibly beyond country, too.
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

Among those stations is Nash FM, in New York, one of four hundred and sixty stations owned by Cumulus Media. John Dickey is the company’s executive vice-president of content and programming, and he says that, especially in a cosmopolitan market like New York, it didn’t make sense to send Swift’s fans elsewhere simply because her new songs were too pop. In his view, country radio can and must expand musically, while retaining its “foundational tenets,” including a commitment to “wholesome entertainment” for families. Hunt, unlike some country mavericks, has been embraced by radio stations, which remain the genre’s most important arbiters. “What would have been a very difficult business proposition five, six, seven years ago with an artist like Sam Hunt—today, he’s a poster child for what’s right with the format,” Dickey says. “He’s such a force right now, we can’t get enough Sam Hunt on the radio.”
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

Crowell continues, “My publisher booked us a co-write that day. I still have the email; I'm a nostalgic guy. wrote, 'Hey man. Just booked you today with this new guy Sam Hunt. Super excited about this one.' He sent me a song and I was just blown away. Kinda the reaction the whole world has had to him, I recall having it myself. About three weeks later we wrote 'Cop Car.' It was the second song we had written.”
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Sam Hunt Cop Car

“Break Up in a Small Town,” Sam Hunt (Hunt, Crowell, McAnally) “Speaking of easy, this was the opposite of easy. If 'House Party' took about two co-writes to get done, 'Break Up In a Small Town' took about 10 co-writes to get done. Sam brought it over to me and he had a good chunk of the chorus done. We were trying to figure out how to do the verses. He was just talking to me. He was saying, 'I wonder if it would be about a girl and we drive the same roads and we pay at the same pumps.' I remember going, 'Dude, that should be the verse! It should just be you talking to me, just like I put a microphone in front of your face as you're telling a story.' At some point we brought Shane McAnally over and he did what he does best, which is write really good lyrics, super emotional, realistic things. We circled back to it a whole bunch of times, because we knew that song was special. It's my favorite song I’ve ever been a part of.”
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With its wistful lyric, sleekly rhythmic phrasing and broody, brittle beat, “Cop Car” was soon snatched up by Urban, so taken with what Crowell had done on the demo that he kept him on as the single's producer. The song was also one of several ruminative, small-town, slow jams that made it onto Hunt's blockbuster debut Montevallo, and Nashville took notice of Crowell's contributions to the album as co-writer and co-producer (along with Shane McAnally). Now Crowell's become a go-to guy for those looking to update their country sounds with a bit of pop-R&B smolder.
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Hunt threw the concept out there to Crowell and Jenkins and they began working on the lyrics to form what is now known as “Cop Car.” He admits, though, that they were initially hesitant about the song’s topic.
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‘Cop Car’ was a collaboration of some incredibly talented songwriters, including Hunt, Zach Crowell and Matt Jenkins. Although this was the first song the trio wrote together, the success thus far has proven that first time was clearly a charm, which will hopefully result in more songwriting sessions in the future.
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It wasn’t because of a wild imagination that this idea popped into Hunt’s head, either — he reveals that it actually happened. Although, the singer-songwriter says that the reason for being put into the cop car was “nothing too major; just made for a good story.”
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Hunt explains that the reason he included the song on his album is because “After writing the songs on the record, it was like a movie, and “Cop Car” was a pivotal scene in that movie. Even though Keith Urban had recorded it, I felt it still had a place on the record.”
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The sing-along stopped only once during Hunt’s set, near the end, in a moment designed to disorient the crowd. A sinuous, hazy electronic beat came through the speakers, and a disembodied voice intoned some surprisingly gloomy words: “All the sh— I do is boring/All these record labels boring/I don’t trust these record labels, I’m touring/All these people on the planet working nine to five, just to stay alive.” Some people in the crowd might have recognized the absent singer as Beyoncé, but probably not too many, since the clip came, lightly censored, from “Ghost,” one of the more experimental songs on her self-titled 2013 album. This was Hunt’s way of introducing “Single for the Summer,” a not wholly celebratory song about a man who finds himself seasonally unable to stay faithful. “I feel it creepin’ in,” he sang. “Every day’s a weekend, and I’m drowning in the freedom.” After the second chorus, he took another detour, delivering part of the third verse of “Marvin’s Room,” by Drake, another singer (and, more often, rapper) who elegantly slips between genres and moods; modern country singers love to flaunt phrases and attitudes borrowed from hip-hop, but Hunt’s borrowings are softer and sneakier. “Having a hard time adjusting to fame,” he murmured, following Drake’s example. It was the most memorable line of the night, even though he gave the crowd no reason to believe it.

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