HOUSTON (AP) — The year 2017 is looking good for Sam Hunt: The country star just released a new single, he's readying a massive summer tour, he proposed to his girlfriend, and the proud Georgia native is watching the Atlanta Falcons compete in the Super Bowl.
The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter was all smiles ahead of his pre-Super Bowl performance Thursday in Houston, where the Falcons will take on the New England Patriots on Sunday at the NRG Stadium.
"I know all my folks back home and all my buddies back home are superpumped. It reminds me growing up several years ago when the Falcons played the Super Bowl," Hunt, 32, said in an interview. "I'm a Tom Brady fan and I would love to see him get his fifth Super Bowl (ring), but I got to go with the Falcons this year."
During his performance at Club Nomadic for the EA Sports Bowl — where Snoop Dogg and current chart-toppers The Chainsmokers also hit the stage — Hunt sang his familiar No. 1 country hits as well as his new single, "Body Like a Back Road."
It's the first song from his upcoming sophomore album, which he is currently writing and recording.
"I recently switched gears in terms of the types of songs I'm writing, so the record has taken a new direction. I didn't start from scratch necessarily, but I kind of hit restart on this new record, so this was one of the first songs, even though I wrote this several months ago, it's a song that's reflective of the new chapter and perspective I have on life and my record and music," Hunt said. "It's kind of one of the only songs really I have for the next record. I have a lot of songs, but this record specifically 'cause I'm taking a new direction, this is one of the songs that fit that mode."
Hunt's 2014 debut album, the double platinum "Montevallo," launched five hit singles and earned two Grammy nominations, including best country album.
He'll launch his 15 IN A 30 TOUR this summer — tickets go on sale Friday — but wedding planning has dominated most of his time.
"I'm engaged to be married and that has taken priority over everything, and I'm devoting a lot of time to my fiance and the process of planning a wedding," said Hunt, who will tie the knot this spring. "It feels great 'cause I've known that she was the one for me for some time now, so to confirm it with an engagement is special."
Hunt is a former quarterback for both Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He performed at the Super Bowl 50 Tailgate Party last year and said at times, he misses playing football.
"I've got a lot of great, enjoyable distractions that keep me from missing it too much. I don't want to get too worried about the glory days, but I do miss it from time-to-time," he said. "Just the competition."