"I feel like I've just been getting by by the skin of my teeth the past couple of years," Sam Hunt admitted to The Boot and other media outlets backstage on Day 3 of the 2018 CMA Music Festival, where he was scheduled to give a surprise performance of his newest single, "Downtown's Dead," at Nissan Stadium.

It wasn't Hunt's first time surprising a Nashville audience that week: A few days earlier, he weaved in and out of the honky-tonks that line Lower Broadway, performing the song for the 2018 CMT Music Awards. Both times, Hunt began his song by casually popping up from somewhere in the audience, winding his way through the crowds as he made his way towards the stage. Hunt says that this unconventional performance style has allowed him to get up close and personal with fans in a way that he hasn't been able to for years.

"As the venues have grown, I've gotten further and further away from people," he explains. "We started out in little clubs, sometimes on the floor with the people in the room right up in our faces. Being able to play downtown and walk through the crowd, just be eye to eye with everybody and see the excited on their faces, it was [awesome]."

In both cases, Hunt came out to perform just one song -- not a full set -- which he says felt like the right decision at the moment. While more new music is in the works, and the country star even recently debuted a new song, "Nothing Lasts Forever," during a concert, he's far from having a full set ready to play. He's been open about the fact that he doesn't always feel the creative juices flowing, and he says that it's difficult to find time to write on the road.

"I've had trouble getting back into the writing flow over the past few years, being on the road with my artist hat on," Hunt admits. "They're just two different worlds to me.

"I keep saying that I'm going to carve out time to get home and really devote my time and energy to creating an album," he continues. "I didn't plan on touring this summer, but an opportunity came up to go out with Luke Bryan, and I couldn't pass it up. But by fall, I hope I'm going to be able to sink my teeth into a new project, and hopefully have some new music ready to go before too long after that."

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