Blake Shelton is on top of the world. Awards by the bushel, chart topping songs, married to the girl of his (and many other men’s) dreams and a hit television show. There will be more hits from “Based on a True Story“, the follow up to Shelton’s 2011 wildly successful “Red River Blue“. The title of this release intrigued me, as it is not one of the songs on the CD. As I read the included literature, I realized that Shelton did not write any of the twelve songs recorded, and I have to wonder if the title is a thinly veiled explanation of that fact.
While he didn’t write any of the songs, it is clear that Shelton feels a deep connection with each track. The lead off single “Sure Would Be Cool If You Did” is already climbing the charts, and is your basic pick up line in a bar song, but Shelton adds his own blend of smoky, sexy vocals that sends this one over the edge.
The opening track on the CD, “Boys ’round Here“, is, at first listen a red neck rebel yell, all about being proud of those southern roots. I would love to say that I was above liking a song with a refrain of “Chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, SPIT”, but I am not…this song cooks, southern style, and is tons of fun. Look for this one, featuring Pistol Annies and “friends”, to be a huge hit this summer.
The other southern fried rocker is “Small Town Big Time“, about being a big fish in a little pond, and this has hit written all over it. It sounds like Blake might miss that a little….being able to cut loose with his girl and his buddies without having to worry about image. “Country on the Radio” has a similar theme, set to a simpler tune….”That’s how we rock, and that’s how we roll, As long as there’s country on the radio…”. Yep, that’s how I roll, too…and I am still a’hummin’ this song.
“My Eyes” features Shelton’s “The Voice” protege Gwen Sebastian, and is another smoky come on line, country boy style. “Doin’ What She Likes” is an ode to making your lady happy, with what I can only describe as an old fashioned seventies southern rock feel to it. “Lay Low” is another sexy groove, about reconnecting as a couple.This one really does seem to speak to his marriage, and is a nice reminder to all us old married folk that we need to make time for just being a couple again.
“I Still Got a Finger” is really the weakest track here; Shelton describes it as the modern day version of “Take This Job and Shove It”. I personally would have preferred to hear Shelton cover the original, but I expect this one will catch a lot of airplay as well.
The two top picks for me are the two songs that showcase Shelton’s voice and emotions best: “Grandaddy’s Gun“, which is self explanatory, is a simple song about handing down tradition. It is not surprising that Shelton does have his Grandaddy’s gun, given to him by his Father. What is surprising is how Shelton owns this song; his emotion is touching and sweet, without making the song a mockery. “Mine Would Be You” is about the love of your life, the one that you lost. This song smolders with passion and loss, and is easily the best vehicle for Shelton’s vocals.
Again, while Shelton did not write any of these songs, it is obvious that they were carefully chosen to give a personal glimpse into what is a very public life. Kudos, Mr. Shelton, kudos….you have done all of these songwriters quite proud.
Blake Shelton’s “Based On A True Story” will be released on Tuesday March 26th. You can pre-order your copy of the album HERE.