Sam Hunt tends to get a lot of grief from some corners of the country listening audience for his smoothed-out, thoroughly modern approach to making music, but he still has a deep love of the classics. At the All 4 the Hall benefit show on Tuesday, Hunt paid tribute to Merle Haggard with a cover of the legend’s 1980 single “The Way I Am.”
With the tasteful, soft guitar accents of Keith Urban and Vince Gill supporting him, Hunt croons soulfully, gliding through the chorus lyric about not fitting his shackles. He also has an acoustic guitar strapped around his shoulders, but strums it sparingly in the way that George Strait typically does during his live performances.
Haggard’s spirit was everywhere during that particular event, and included Vince Gill’s cover of “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down,” Emmylou Harris’ “Kern River” and Luke Bryan’s take on “Big City.”
This weekend, Hunt will perform at the Tortuga Music Festival in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and next weekend he will help open Kenny Chesney’s Spread the Love tour when it kicks off at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Alabama.