For Blake Shelton, his latest chart-topper “God’s Country” has played a defining role in his career. In addition to tying him with George Strait and Alan Jackson for having the third most No. 1s on the Billboard Country Airplay chart, the song also captivated another country music giant.
Sitting down with “God’s Country” songwriters Devin Dawson, Hardy and Jordan Schmidt, Shelton raved about his passion for the powerful track, one he felt a connection with the moment he heard it while working on his farm in Oklahoma, immediately calling his producer Scott Hendricks to put it on hold. He recorded it days later and four months after, it sped up the charts to become his 26th No. 1 hit. “That’s literally the kind of song that I feel like makes me want to make another record,” Shelton shares with Sounds Like Nashville and other media. “That kind of reignites my excitement not for country music, but for what I do in country music.”
And Shelton isn’t the only one who’s a fan of the stormy track. His performance of “God’s Country” at the 2019 ACM Awards caught the attention of Garth Brooks, who contacted Shelton via phone call days after to praise him. “He was very complimentary in what he said to me and I said ‘man, I think you just mistook me trying to hit some of those notes as passion,'” Shelton jokes. But Shelton, who says he was inspired to become a country singer after watching Brooks’ first TV special, 1992’s This is Garth Brooks, was presented with the ultimate opportunity during the call when Brooks pitched him the idea of collaborating on his new song “Dive Bar.”
“He just said ‘I got this song that I’d like for you to listen to and maybe if you like it then we could record it together,’” The Voice coach recalls. “I literally think I said ‘buddy I haven’t heard it, but I’ll do it.’” True to his word, Shelton lent his voice to the upbeat song that the pair performed live for the first time during Brooks’ tour stop at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho in July 2019.
And while “God’s Country” has given Shelton a sense of rejuvenation, he says he’s in no rush to make a new album. The singer admits he’s still trying to understand how people consume music, but is reveling in the self-described “weird spot” the music industry is in, as it allows him to record songs he’s passionate about and release them at his own pace, one of which being his new single with Trace Adkins, “Hell Right.”
“At this point in my life and career, things feel like everything’s icing on the cake for me and all I want to do is make the records that I want to make with the people that I want to make them with and outside of that, I don’t care how they package it or what they do with it,” Shelton describes of the leisurely process. “I’m just having a blast with it. We’ve got a ton of stuff recorded. Will all of it see the light of day? The way the music industry works these days, probably.”
Shelton latest single, “Hell Right,” is out now.