Grrrrrrr, Blake Shelton! He’s the guy who said that “Old Farts and Jackasses” thing and is on that stupid reality show! Plus we’re supposed to hate him if we like Miranda Lambert, or something. But if you believe in reform and forgiveness, Blake Shelton would be one of the select few who would be worthy of it in the mainstream.
Face it, Blake Shelton’s recent album Texoma Shore is pretty damn decent. Not great, but pretty decent. And the record saw Shelton turn a corner back towards the more traditional sound of his early career. Hell it may be the most traditional of his career, period. If you need any validation of how good it is, take into account it’s his worst-selling record to date, with the worst-performing radio singles. If country radio doesn’t like it, it’s probably a sure bet it’s pretty good.
At this point Blake Shelton is only a country star by proxy. His fans get all hot and bothered since he no longer gets nominated for any awards and stuff, but he spends half of his year on a set in Hollywood for The Voice. At some point, Blake Shelton made the conscious decision that the best move for his career was to the small screen, and he seems pretty happy with that. It means the industry hardware has stopped coming, and so have the big sales and automatic #1 radio singles. But he’s arguably a bigger superstar than anyone else in mainstream country, makes a boatload of money, and is recognized around the world without having to live out of a bus for much of the year. It’s good work if you can get it.
Blake Shelton will be going on a small tour called “Friends and Heroes” in 2019 though, and if you need any more validation that the once apex villain in the hearts and minds of many of country music’s traditional fans has turned a leaf, appreciate that he isn’t dragging Dylan Scott or Dan+Shay, or whatever mainstream country spare tire on tour with him. He’s taking John Anderson and The Bellamy Brothers on tour in 2019, along with Lauren Alaina and Trace Adkins. Who else in the mainstream can even name you a John Anderson song?
As artists like Keith Urban continue to color their gray and try to keep up with whatever contemporary bullshit is infesting mainstream country at the moment, Blake Shelton is busy becoming his dad, going grey and bringing it back to his roots. I really don’t have any good prognosis for the reason Blake Shelton has reversed course, and has gone from slamming “Old Farts and Jackasses” to booking them on his tours, but it beats the alternatives of either staying his course from a few years ago, or acting like Joe Diffie out there making an ass of himself trying his hand at tractor rap.
The 2013 “Old Farts and Jackasses” Blake Shelton would hate the 2018 “Booking John Anderson and the Bellamy Brothers on tour” Blake Shelton. And that’s a good thing.