A quarterback-turned-country songwriter-turned-country star, Sam Hunt never makes apologies for his inherent bro-ness on his 2014 debut Montevallo. He's a laid-back, handsome, well-adjusted dude who makes music that sounds like he looks: friendly, ingratiating, relaxed, and perhaps just a little bit non-descript. Montevallo deliberately sounds like other guys next door, sometimes evoking memories of Jason Aldean (he's as comfortable with the slow-burning electronic rhythms of "Break Up in a Small Town" as Aldean is on "Burnin' It Down"), sometimes Keith Urban (Hunt does his own version of "Cop Car," previously a hit for Urban), sometimes Jake Owen ("Raised on It" is a dead ringer for "Barefoot Blue Jean Night"). Hunt is unabashedly a modern guy and his taste for busy electronic arrangements and facility with fleet-footed rhythms distinguish him from the pack of modern country bros: it's what gives the nocturnal urban sparkle of the hit "Leave the Light On" a lift, it's what gives "Single for the Summer" its sheen, it's what gives "Ex to See" a bit of dense menace. These electronic flourishes are notable but they're not the anchor of Montevallo, nor is Hunt's amiable presence. What grounds the album is his clean, commercial songwriting, heavy on hooks but also sturdily constructed. Ultimately, Hunt's ability to fuse his classical construction with modern flair and pass it off as no big thing is what makes his debut something more than just another album from the bro next door.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine