Why Sam Hunt’s “Between The Pines” Is A Gamechanger for Country Music

Sam Hunt

PITTSBURGH – In the mid-2000’s Keith Urban changed the path of country music forever.¹

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Untangling Thomas Rhett’s New Album “Tangled Up”


PITTSBURGH – At the beginning of the year I was having a conversation with my Dad about golf; specifically the new breed of golfers who are now leading the charge as the world’s best players.

As a man in his mid-60’s who follows the game closely, he had a particularly slanted, “get off my lawn” attitude toward the 20-somethings (Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler) who have taken the place once held by the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Ernie Els and Vijay Singh.

As the conversation continued, I told him, “Get used to it or follow another sport, because these are the guys you’re going to be seeing at the top of the leaderboards for the next 10 years.”

I bring up this conversation because country music has reached the same tipping point.

Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt ushered in the current movement, while neo-traditionalists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Kip Moore have updated their sounds in the same mold  – i.e., drum machines, synths, programmed beats, electric guitars, guest raps and flourishes of R&B.

This brings us to Thomas Rhett.

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Kill The Lights (And The Steel Guitars): How Luke Bryan Has Shaped Modern Country Music

Luke Bryan (Kill The Lights)

PITTSBURGH – A little over a minute into Luke Bryan’s new song “Kick The Dust Up”, amidst the tap of the drum machine, Bryan’s filtered vocal and the swirl of lightly crescendoing synthesizers, you almost expect Kane Beatz to announce he is in the building.

But Luke Bryan and his myriad of song doctors, managers and handlers know that would be the equivalent of having their cake and eating it too.

So they settle for a simple reroute back into the second verse where a twangy guitar plays over a simple, upbeat drum pattern amidst acoustic guitar strums and Bryan singing of a packed bar where the line is out the door.

Therein lies the beauty (and genius) of Luke Bryan – he knows exactly how far to take things.

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