Once the precocious tyke who sang “Jambalaya” onstage with Hank Williams Jr. at age 4, Hunter Hayes is all grown up. He has matured into a multi-instrumentalist who commanded more than 30 instruments for his debut and wrote or co-wrote each of the album’s dozen tracks as well as co-producing the album.
Hunter’s glossy country-pop sound clearly reveals influences taken from Keith Urban’s guitar wizardry and particularly from Rascal Flatts lead singer Gary LeVox—Hunter seems to have mastered Gary’s style of high-pitched, soulful warbling.
The direct and romantic “Wanted” stands up favorably against any tender Rascal Flatts ballad, while Hunter’s guitar skills take the spotlight on “What You Gonna Do.” He veers closer to Colbie Caillat or Sara Bareilles pop singer/songwriter territory on the catchy “Everybody’s Got Somebody but Me.”
With Hunter’s solid musicianship and boyish charm, you’ve got an artist who can catch the ears (and eyes) of the Taylor Swift-loving teens and preteens, yet is poised to make serious musical inroads as his songwriting matures. Don’t say you weren’t warned.