Yes, you read that correctly.
Sam Hunt is going to perform a duet with Dwight Yoakam for an upcoming Academy of Country Music (ACM) special that will pair younger country artists with older country artists. Filming will take place during the 2015 ACM Awards on April 18 at the AT&T Center in Dallas, Texas, and the show will be aired at a later date. Other duets featured in the show include Miranda Lambert and Patty Loveless, Keith Urban and John Anderson and The Band Perry and Deana Carter.
I’m still scratching my head over this one. These two artists are pretty much polar opposites on the country spectrum. Sure, Sam Hunt is at the top of the country charts right now, but it’s still quite a stretch to classify his music as country, especially when you put him up against an artist like Dwight Yoakam, who has spent decades playing authentic country music.
Here’s what they do have in common: they’ve both built successful careers on country-music hybrids.Hunt, whose career is only getting started, is praised for mixing pop-rock and Drake-inspired rap with country. However, there only slight traces of country in his music, and if you’re a Yoakam fan who has no idea who Sam Hunt is, you’ll think those traces are downright undetectable. On the other hand, Yoakam has spent years playing authentic country. He blazed a trail in the late 80s and 90s with his hybrid of Bakersfield, rockabilly, bluegrass, pop and many other American musical styles.
Both Yoakam and Hunt may be considered pioneers for their unique country blends; however, I don’t think Hunt is trying to be country so much as he is taking advantage of the young country audience and the format’s seismic shift towards pop and rock.
Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see what the two end up performing for the show. Matchups like this at award shows and on tv specials are nothing new (Remember when Elton John and Eminem performed at the Grammy’s?). Hunt and Yoakam’s duet could yield something good, or at the very least, something interesting to watch. I’d like to give the upcoming duet the benefit of the doubt, but if it’s Yoakam crooning while Hunt delivers his Drake-style rap over pre-recorded backing tracks, I think a little part of my soul will die.