"Body Like a Back Road" is by far the biggest hit of Hunt's career, and it basically owned the summer of 2017, scoring a dizzying run at No. 1 on country radio all over the U.S. The song is the lead single from whatever album Hunt will release next, for which there is no clear timetable.
Hunt wrote "Body Like a Back Road" with Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, three of the most successful writers in contemporary country music. They will all share in the honor of the song wins. It surprised absolutely nobody when the song was nominated for Song of the Year in the 2017 CMA Awards. Read on below to see all of the reasons the song deserves to win when the CMA Awards air live on Nov. 8.
Remember: The best way to watch the CMAs is on TV, with ToC on your phone!
It's One of a Kind
Part of the appeal of "Body Like a Back Road" is that it's simply unlike any other song on country radio. Set to a quasi-R&B groove, the song mingles pop, soul and contemporary country so seamlessly that it's almost impossible to categorize it musically, which is undoubtedly one reason why it succeeded so broadly.
It Has an Amazing Pedigree
Hunt worked with a lineup of writers who could scarcely go wrong when he wrote "Body Like a Back Road." Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally not only helped Hunt write many of the hits from Montevallo that helped him establish his sound, they've both won Grammys for their work with Kacey Musgraves. Crowell won a Grammy for his work with rapper Lecrae, but has focused on country music in recent years, with a huge run of hits including Hunt, Carrie Underwood and more. Add that firepower to Hunt's own demonstrable way with a hit and you're almost bound to get something good.
It's Perfectly Written
"Body Like a Back Road" floats along as if Hunt is making it up off the top off his head as he goes along, but the song is actually very carefully written to achieve that effect. As Osborne tells Taste of Country, they worked very hard to capture the light-hearted feel that Hunt wanted.
"We thought it was finished, and Sam called us up one day and said, ‘Hey, I think we need to get together one more time and look at it,'” Osborne says. They realized the song was actually over-written and pulled it apart, re-fashioning it into the simplest way they could convey the message of the song. The economy of both the melody and the lyrics is part of the song's universal appeal.
Hunt's Perfect Vocal Performance
Sam Hunt isn't a belter or a showy singer, and it's easy to overlook how effective and unique a vocalist he really is. His vocal performance on "Body Like a Back Road" is perfection, with the singer delivering the simple melody without embellishment and in such a seemingly offhanded way that it's as if Hunt simply turned to the listener and started telling a story.
Numbers Don't Lie
"Body Like a Back Road" is not only the song that captured country radio over the summer, it's a record-breaking hit single that has smashed all previous records. "Body Like a Back Road" stayed at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for 34 consecutive weeks, and topped the Country Airplay chart. It crossed over into the mainstream Billboard Hot 100 and went all the way to No. 6, and has sold more than three million total units.