Sam Hunt explains DUI arrest, says alcohol is 'a cheap trick in country music'

Raechal Shewfelt
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Country music singer Sam Hunt isn’t ashamed of talking about the night he was arrested for driving under the influence and having an open container.

“It happened. People in my camp were talking about suppressing it, but why would I be afraid to talk about it?” Hunt told HITS Daily Double in a new interview. “If it happens, it’s true.”

Hunt, 35, was apprehended in the early morning hours of Nov. 21, after police spotted him driving the wrong way and weaving in and out of his traffic lane down Ellington Parkway in Nashville, according to local news station WKRN. Police stopped Hunt, who reportedly attempted to give them his passport and credit card instead of his driver’s license. Two empty beer cans were beside him in the vehicle. After Hunt registered .173 on a field sobriety test — .08 is the legal limit in Tennessee — he was handcuffed and taken to jail.

“I was raised and taught to respect [alcohol]. Moderation is important,” the “Hard to Forget” singer said. “I’ve never wanted to glorify it. It’s a cheap trick in country music, and I’ve always wanted to avoid that. I don’t like using [drinking] as a party song; for me, that wouldn’t be honest. I’ve never been the guy who shotguns a beer. I know people who partake that way, and I wouldn’t want to shake my finger or look down on them.”

Hunt explained what happened the night that ended with him behind bars.

“I put myself in a position by being out, seeing friends at a show, leaving my phone in an Uber,” he said. “We’d Uber’d all night, then went back to a friend’s house, had some pizza. I fell asleep on the couch, woke up groggy. I should’ve been more conscious, but I wasn’t. So I take responsibility.”

At one point, the singer, who released his latest album, Southside, in April, referred to country music stars of the past. He fielded a question about his “old-school thing,” the way his music looks back on the Nashville of the past.

“Some of our biggest artists became big because of those songs, [which expressed] where they came from, what they went through and really getting it in the song,” Hunt said. “For Merle Haggard to be that prolific, he had to live it. And it took a toll. You can’t fake it if you want to make it, because people can hear the difference. Some of that life you don’t wanna put out there, but it’s still part of it.”

Still, Hunt said he’s not about exposing everyone in his life to the masses by writing about them in his songs. He more focused on writing about himself.

“If something’s true, I’ve never been bothered if people find out,” he explained. “If I ever painted myself in a false light, that would bother me. Even if it was a less flattering light but true, well, OK.”

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