Levi Hummon was born into Nashville’s songwriting community. As the son of Grammy-winning songwriter Marcus Hummon (“Bless the Broken Road,” “Cowboy Take Me Away”), he grew up surrounded by storytelling and songwriting. It was only a matter of time before he broke out on his own, but his new six-track EP Patient, out Oct. 26, proves his singer-songwriter mark will be distinct.
All six songs on the project were co-written by Hummon, and the Nashville native says they are a cohesive representation of who he is as an artist. With nearly 500 songs in his catalog, he narrowed down the selection to what he likes — what he wanted to listen to in his car.
“For the last two years, I have been writing and recording and on the road,” he tells Taste of Country, settling into a couch at BMI’s Nashville office. “I wasn’t writing for radio, I wasn’t writing for record [representation], I wasn’t writing for anybody but myself. I just want to showcase the side of me that’s an honest songwriter.”
Patient combines Hummon’s influences of country, pop and folk music. He also factored in his live show while writing the infectious “Songs We Sang,” then stirred in heartbreak on the poignant “I Still Do.” He calls Desmond Child a mentor (Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady,” “Crazy”) and has learned to not only sing to the people in the front row, but to the fans at the back wall of the venue.
Want to discover #countymusic’s next big voice before he blows up big time? Get your ticket for @levihummon’s EP release party and meet me @3rdandLindsley in Nashville tonight! #LeviHummon is about to take the world by storm — don’t miss this!
“My inspiration behind a lot of these songs is, how can I relate to people I know love my music in a new way and bring them new music that they will enjoy?” Hummon explains. “We are playing clubs and it’s like you’re the opening act constantly and I want to limit the amount of covers I’m doing live. So, I try to make the most singalong-y stuff possible and generally in [‘Songs We Sang’] we put ‘Oh, oh, na, na, na, oh’ as the chorus. I feel like the people in the crowd can probably sing along to that one.”
Standout track “I Still Do” was inspired by a real-life romantic breakup and professional (label) breakup. Hummon split with Big Machine Label Group after the release of his last EP and says he channeled these events into the song, which he wrote with Trannie Anderson and Danielle Blakey.
“You can write breakup songs, but they don’t always mean something to you. The song ‘I Still Do’ was like the nail in the coffin for that relationship. I was like, ‘Now, I feel better!’ and it feels really honest of what I went through,” he explains. “There’s a lot of heartbreak, but at the same I’ve been in creative control of what’s happening with my team. There’s something more honest about it because I’ve been an independent artist recently and going through that.”
“I remember when I left the label, my dad told me, ‘Now you can figure out how much you want it,'” he adds. “I’m going to go prove to everybody how much I want it and how much I love music itself and how much I love the process of creating.”
Hummon has been patiently waiting to release new music, and the title track of this EP, “Patient,” is another honest song that shares the story of his musical journey. For now, he’s slowly building a team of loyal writers around him to help him continue to explore his new brand as an independent artist.
“I went from writing with my dad and Desmond to actually having a Nashville family of writers, and I feel like now I’ve taken that same team and developed it and built it out and figured out who I love and who loves me and who’s willing to go all the way,” he says with a smile. “I have nothing but big plans coming up and hopefully tour my butt off and keep making amazing music. I love being out on the road and being with fans.”
“I’m going to keep doing this until I can’t do it anymore,” he insists.
Hummon will celebrate his new music with an EP release concert on Thursday (Oct. 25) at Nashville’s 3rd and Lindsley.
10 Best Country Songs of 2018 (So Far):
No. 10: Chris Janson, “Drunk Girl”
“Drunk Girl” has become strangely controversial, but Janson’s intentions were pure. The ballad is a song he hopes his kids will learn from. It’s about respect in the 21st century, and it’s performed brilliantly over little more than a piano. A Song of the Year CMA nomination secured this track’s spot on our list of the best songs of 2018.
No. 9: Morgan Wallen, “Up Down”
No song on this list of the Top Songs of 2018 contrasts “Drunk Girl” more than Wallen’s first big hit “Up Down.” The plucky country drinking song was the No. 1 song of the summer, a jam that’s sure to get repeated airplay for years to come.
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No. 8: Cam, “Diane”
Everyone raves about Cam’s “Diane,” yet it never caught on at country radio. We’re doubling down on our support for this song. Sales and commercial success aside, it’s among the best of 2018. But our list allows for consideration of charts, so here she is, at No. 8.
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No. 6: Ashley McBryde, “Girl Going Nowhere”
Ashley McBryde hasn’t released the title track from her Girl Going Nowhere album to radio (yet), but it’s the best of a superb collection of songs. She’s taken to opening her shows with the soft acoustic track, creating instant fans with an autobiographical story as emotional as it is inspiring. You really need to listen to it.
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No. 6: Brett Young, “Mercy”
Oh how our hearts ache for Brett Young when he sings “Mercy.” This signature song from his debut album needed room on the radio, and even though it’s a very long ballad, it’s finding space. We’re all better for his hurt.
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No. 6: Florida Georgia Line, Bebe Rexha, “Meant to Be”
You might be sick of it. “Meant to Be” is a pop hit, a country hit and one of the best selling songs of the country decade. We can’t overlook that because some people complain about the country cred. Plus, there’s that one thing about this song: it’s more contagious than smiling.
No. 4: Eric Church, “Desperate Man”
Save Eric Church a spot on this list of the year’s best country songs. Isn’t he always featured? “Desperate Man” is most similar to his own songs from Mr. Misunderstood, but the superstar brings a fresh mix of genres to the radio. The Rolling Stones comparisons are apt, but there’s a little more Southern rock in this lead track from his new album.
No. 3: Florida Georgia Line, “Simple”
It’s like Florida Georgia Line have a secret stash of hooks they’re not sharing with anyone else! “Simple” is as melodic as anything they’ve released. It’s an easy, ear-pleasing love song that only an ogre could spurn. Sure, “Meant to Be” might be remembered as the bigger song of 2018, but this is the better song.
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No. 2: Dan + Shay, “Tequila”
Double CMA nominations for Dan + Shay’s “Tequila” add to an already impressive resume. If you’ve seen them perform it live in 2018, you’ll agree it’s a moment. Actually it’s a massive singalong, with fans shouting every lyric back like the microphones went out.
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No. 1: Jason Aldean, “Drowns the Whiskey”
Aldean’s duet with Miranda Lambert blends two unlikely voices to create a sound as intoxicating as a good gin and tonic. “Drowns the Whiskey” was a traditional ballad that ran counter to the pop-flavored trinkets maximizing radio airplay. It’s a slow, intentional, well-written song that soared to No. 1 and picked up two CMA nominations. We’re betting it wins at least one of them.
Morgan Wallen’s “Whiskey Glasses” Isn’t a Party Song