The ladies love Sam Hunt — but the guys do, too. There was an audible "Aww!" from the women in the crowd at the 2018 Taste of Country Music Festival on Sunday night (June 10) as the headliner took a seat at the piano to perform his hit "Make You Miss Me." But it was just as easy to spot big, burly men singing along to "Break Up in a Small Town" just before that.

Similarly, for every fan rapping along to Drake's "God's Plan" (which played before Hunt took the stage) there was another — sometimes the same fan, actually — singing along with every word of Hunt's covers of Brooks & Dunn's "Brand New Man," Jo Dee Messina's "Heads Carolina, Tails California," the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl," Tim McGraw's "Where the Green Grass Grows" and Garth Brooks' "Ain't Goin' Down (Til the Sun Comes Up)."

If it was coming out of the speakers during Hunt's Taste of Country Festival-closing set, the crowd was hanging on every note, no matter the genre.

During his '90s country medley, Hunt and his band were seated close together on barstools, evoking the honky-tonks of Nashville's lower Broadway, which lured the Georgia-born singer-songwriter to move to Music City in the first place. But for much of his 75-minute set, Hunt and company bounded around the stage on the side of Hunter Mountain — and although he told the audience, during "Body Like a Back Road," to sing along, he most certainly didn't need to.

Hunt's brand new single, "Downtown's Dead," opened his show. There was no "Nothing Lasts Forever," but there was just about every other song he has to offer. A revamped version of "Ex to See" was sandwiched in between "Leave the Night On" and "Take Your Time" early on, while "Raised on It" and "Speakers" came later. During "House Party," Hunt ran up through the crowd, giving his band a chance to show off their own savvy.

The country superstar's sound is controversial, but it doesn't seem to deter him. He comes out swinging, his swagger and penchant for relatable, but clever lyrics on display from start to finish of a live set. Covers of Billy Currington's "We Are Tonight," Keith Urban's "Cop Car" and William Michael Morgan's "I Met a Girl" found Hunt putting his spin on songs he'd written before exploding as an artist himself.

Hunt's set at the 2018 ToC Fest was a make-good performance from the 2017 event. He'd been on the ground and ready to play, but lost his voice and had to cancel last-minute. He make sure to acknowledge the incident on Sunday, genuinely thanking the fans who showed up both times, "for coming back to hang out with us again."

Sam Hunt's "Downtown's Dead" Is the Return of a Familiar Star

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