Sam Hunt Will Bring Roots-Like Jam Session to Stagecoach Fest: Exclusive

Sam Hunt
Kevin Winter/ACM2016/Getty Images for dcp

Sam Hunt performs onstage during the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 3, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Grammy-nominated Sam Hunt will infuse his Stagecoach setlist with several surprise guests this weekend for a genre-blending jam session, similar to the popular jam sessions that soulful hip-hop group The Roots delivers every year ahead of the Grammy Awards, Billboard has learned.

Hunt, whose debut album Montevallo ranked No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums for 2015 on the strength of three No. 1 singles on both the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, will squeeze in his own hits, likely covers, as well as secret performers on the country music festival’s mainstage during his 50-minute set (7:25-8:15) on Friday in Indio, California.

Hunt is inviting the guests, from various genres, onstage to launch his partnership with Bud Light Music, which previously partnered with The Roots in March to take their jam session to South by Southwest for the first time to wrap up the brand’s four-day blitz of concerts at the Austin-based festival. 

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While the guest artists remain under wraps, it’s well-known that Hunt’s music blends country, hip-hop and pop flavors, so performers from any of those genres are fair game. The 31-year-old could bring out some chart-topping heavyweights such as Carrie Underwood (who he dueted with at the American Music Awards and who is headlining Saturday’s Stagecoach lineup) or even Taylor Swift (who brought Hunt onstage last year during one 1989 World Tour stop). Hunt often incorporates Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” into his own “Single For The Summer,” so don’t be surprised if a rapper appears onstage during his Stagecoach set. Hunt, who was named the AMAs’ New Artist of the Year in November, has also written hits for other country artists who could potentially join him Friday: Kenny Chesney (“Come Over”), Keith Urban (“Cop Car”) and Billy Currington (“We Are Tonight”). 

The guests for The Roots’ jam sessions are often unpredictable, so Hunt’s choices could all come out of leftfield. For example at SXSW, The Roots opened with X Ambassadors “Renegades” and closed with Naughty by Nature’s “Uptown Anthem,” with Ashanti, Too Short, Talib Kweli, Yo Gotti, Emily King, Tish Hyman, Marc E. Bassy and Big Grams all sandwiched in between. Some of those artists had no connection with The Roots before jumping onstage that night. 

Sam Hunt's 'Montevallo' Hits 1 Million Sold in the U.S. 

Expect Hunt, most often sporting a ball cap instead of a cowboy hat like most country artists, to perform much of Montevallo, including his three country platinum-selling chart-toppers -- “Leave the Night On,” “Take Your Time” and “House Party.” Montevallo, which also features the platinum-selling “Break Up In A Small Town” and his current single “Make You Miss Me,” is the best-selling debut album for a country artist since 2011, earning him Grammy nominations for Best New Artist and Best Country Album.