Dwight Yoakam Compares Sam Hunt to Ray Charles: He's Bringing 'A Brand New Audience' to Country

by Sophie Schillaci 2:21 PM PDT, May 13, 2015
Playing Dwight Yoakam Compares Sam Hunt to Ray Charles: He's Bringing 'A Brand New Audience' to Country

Dwight Yoakam has some high praise for country newcomer Sam Hunt.

The pair teamed up on Yoakam's 1993 hit "Fast As You" for the Academy of Country Music's Superstar Duets special, airing Friday, May 15, on CBS.

WATCH: Sam Hunt Says 'The Pressure's On' for New Music

"Sam's an interesting new artist in that he's had just a stratospheric year, and his path to the success has kind of been uniquely his own," Yoakam told ET of his duet partner, but he couldn't resist comparing Hunt to another musical trailblazer.

"It reminds me a little bit of, with the infusion of soul and southern R&B, with the things that happened surrounding the album that Ray Charles put out -- the very historic album The Modern Sounds of Country Music back in the early '60s," Yoakam said. "It was a reinterpretation that not only intrigued country audiences at the time, but it brought a brand new audience to the country music world."

WATCH: You Need to See Sam Hunt's Mom Adorably Brag About Her Son on the ACM Red Carpet

Hunt scored a Best New Artist nomination at this year's ACMs and performed his current single "Take Your Time" on the telecast. And just hours ago, Hunt found himself twice nominated for this year's CMT Music Awards.

Yoakam, meanwhile, recently celebrated the release of his brand new album Second Hand Heart via Warner Bros. Records. "This album was a joy every night we were in the studio making it," said the icon.

Only ET was backstage with the stars at the Rangers' baseball stadium in Arlington, Texas, as they geared up to brave the rain and perform. See what Darius Rucker and Sara Evans had to say about channeling Johnny Cash and June Carter, and watch The Band Perry totally geek out over performing "Strawberry Wine" with Deana Carter.

And because we'll take any excuse to watch this video -- see Mr. Hunt rock it at Diva Trivia in the player below.