Yeah No, Blake Shelton is NOT The King of Country
Look, you can make too much of these kinds of things for sure. But coming from a big platform and going completely unchecked, a little bit of marketing could turn into a big aberration of the truth, so some spirit dissent is warranted in this situation.
NBC’s singing competition The Voice is coming back in October, and once again Blake Shelton will be taking his A1 spot as a judge on the show. In a new marketing promotion for the show’s return, the claim is being made in multiple mediums that “The King of Country is BACK” and “Blake Shelton: Country King.” In a video clip, girlfriend Gwen Stefani says, “Obviously, he’s a country King.”
The King of Country is BACK… and he's the reigning champ. 😏#TheVoice returns with @BlakeShelton, @KellyClarkson, @JohnLegend & @GwenStefani October 19 on @NBC. pic.twitter.com/8TBcueemJr— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) September 14, 2020
Yeah, not so much. Perhaps in other genres, such jargon can be bandied about harmlessly as flattery and marketing. But in country music, history means something. And being able to proclaim someone a “country King” is reserved for a very exclusive few, which Blake Shelton in no way qualifies for—an opinion even many Blake Shelton fans would probably agree with.
Fellow judge on The Voice Kelly Clarkson—who’s shared her own disdain for today’s country last year—was incapable of letting the claim slide herself, proclaiming playfully, “I must have missed George Strait in this video.”
Consulting Saving Country Music’s compendium on country music’s Royal Court and Founding Family, there are only three men who can legitimately claim the right to be called “Kings” of country music: Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, and “King” George Strait. Blake Shelton—with all due respect—doesn’t even come close to the kind of legacy and importance these three men accrued.
And look, that’s not a knock on Blake Shelton specifically. And to be fair, Blake Shelton doesn’t even appear to be making this claim himself (even though he might be fine with letting it happen). Perhaps if he had chosen to continue his career in actual country music as opposed to devoting a lion’s share of his time to a reality show and getting swept up in Bro-Country with songs like “Boys ‘Round Here,” maybe he would be a contender for such a distinction. But he didn’t.
Truth is, in the next ten years ago—or God forbid when George Strait moves on to country music heaven—we may be on the lookout for the next name to proclaim “The King of Country.” But with all due respect to Blake Shelton, unless he somehow dramatically reversed course and was able to offer the type of lasting influence Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, or George Strait did, his name isn’t even worth shortlisting. And Blake Shelton would probably be the first to tell you that.
September 20, 2020 @ 10:31 am
Yes, George Strait is the king of country, although I (and others) also view Alan Jackson in the same light.
The Voice promoters likely know nothing of “country king” tradition. The claim is probably being made more in the context of the show. Shelton is the only judge to be on all 18 seasons, is known for being the automatic choice of country contestants, and has won 7 of those.
Not surprised his girlfriend would praise him, either. That is what girlfriends do.
September 20, 2020 @ 6:38 pm
Nope Blake Shelton will NEVER be the king of country. GEORGE STRAIT IS THE KING OF COUNTRY AND FOREVER WILL BE.
March 31, 2023 @ 5:10 pm
No Blake is the true Country king
September 20, 2020 @ 10:35 am
You’ll be back, NBC.
September 20, 2020 @ 10:36 am
Oh come on Trigger:
September 20, 2020 @ 11:00 am
Well, consulting my handy guide to the Country Music Royal Court and Founding Family linked in the article (and soon to be available in a handy pocket companion form), Bob Wills is the undisputed King of Western Swing.
September 20, 2020 @ 10:40 am
Well duh… no argument on that one. Blake is King of nothing. Talent? sure, there’s some talent there. I can name some songs out of his catalog that are alright. But a King? No sir.
I cant disagree with the 3 Trig listed as legit. However, I do also really think a sound argument could be made for George Jones. And where do you categorize Wilie Nelson? Hes got it all. Longevity, catalog, hits, superhits, country gold standards, massive influence, charisma, awards, gold and platinums, guitar legend status, duets with everybody, music festivals, movies, books and more street cred than anybody. I’ve never heard him referred to as a King though. Maybe we should. Or maybe just leave it at ICON and call it good.
September 20, 2020 @ 12:18 pm
Absolutely agree Blake who? He’s got very few songs that are worth listening to his personality is…yawn…
September 20, 2020 @ 1:29 pm
Thankyou Kevin!I’m glad you interjected before I had to say it.WILLLIE F——-g NELSON!!!
September 20, 2020 @ 7:41 pm
Thank you for naming George Jones. Willie’s…different. These kinds of categories are too limiting for him.
September 21, 2020 @ 3:54 am
Agreed. I have long referred to Strait as King George II, George Jones is/was without a doubt country music royalty – Willie should be in the conversation as well, but Shelton in that company is just nonsense.
September 20, 2020 @ 10:44 am
September 20, 2020 @ 12:06 pm
People’s Republic of Banality
September 20, 2020 @ 10:49 am
The marketing staff from The Voice probably knows as much about country music as the staff at HGTV knows about home building. Not worth losing sleep over this.
September 21, 2020 @ 6:22 am
The marketing staff from The Voice knows about as much about country music as Blake Shelton.
September 20, 2020 @ 10:58 am
I have to admitt, i like Blake’s first few albums with the exception of “the dreamer”and his christmas album (i hate all christmas music). But starting with “based on a true story” Blake put stones in his pocket and jumped into the deep end of the pool as far as i’m concerned. Royality he is not, more like a self-proclaimed ruler of a made-up country, populated by his fans and Gwen Stefani.
September 20, 2020 @ 11:05 am
It’d be, to make the biggest understatement in ages, a stretch to make Blake Shelton a King of Anything, much less country music. Maybe call him the Baron of the Bromeisters; but that’s as far as one can go (IMHO). Willie, George (both Jones and Strait), and Mr. Cash should not have their reputations tarred.
September 20, 2020 @ 11:25 am
Blake Shelton might very well be nominated again for “Entertainer of the Year” at all major award shows (ACMs, CMAs) in 2021.
From coaching The Voice during a pandemic, to selling out a simulcast Drive In Concert (a la Garth)- plus he’s still a radio darling.
I’m only bringing this up because Blake hasn’t been nominated for EOTY since like 2013 or 2014…. Since no one is touring in the normal way, Blake could be looked upon as a deserving recipient next year .
Also, the Voice has referred to him as the King of Country before…. Maybe they should fire the marketing intern at NBC..
September 20, 2020 @ 12:04 pm
I’m not sure who else would be worthy of this award?
Luke Combs has appeared on many TV shows/talk shows via zoom to play songs.
Scotty McCreery has performed a ton of streaming shows during quarantine.
Has any country star created a podcast platform?? – Indeed, Justin Moore and Martina McBride come to mind.
I really hope the same old ppl aren’t nominated again for EOTY next year… Look at the ppl who have been hustling to promote music and entertain others.
September 20, 2020 @ 11:26 am
They just hand out titles like nothing nowadays.
Did NBC order the title from one of those royalty websites?
September 20, 2020 @ 11:33 am
NBC did a similar thing with late night host Conan O’Brien in June 2009.
After Conan’s first week at The Tonight Show, all commercials claimed he was The New King of Late Night….. We all know what happened months later with his relationship with NBC …
In Bill Carter’s book about the whole ordeal, Conan and his team were furious that NBC referred to him as “The King of Late Night” after only 5 shows….
Let’s just say, NBC loves to stretch the truth in their marketing. It’s a time honored tradition
September 20, 2020 @ 11:41 am
Slow news day Trig? Seriously? This was just Voice promo. Nothing more. But something you should know is how he goes one on one with the producers to make sure all Country music is represented. They wanted just new Country as music choices. He said no. And he over the years he got classic country songs on the list to perform. And the Voice did this so he would be a target for the other coaches for their jokes. He won last season with a Country singer so it’s their usual set up. This is a non story.
September 20, 2020 @ 11:57 am
Oh don’t be such a Stan. As I said in the opening sentence of the article, “Look, you can make too much of these kinds of things for sure.”
I’ve also given credit to Blake Shelton for standing up for the roots of country music, and on numerous occasions.
But let’s not call him a “King.” It’s just going to bring criticism his way.
September 20, 2020 @ 1:33 pm
Tigger you know better than this that Shelton does not believe or endorse this hype and that this is just a tv program pr ad. Who’s the bigger turd here for this click bait.
September 20, 2020 @ 1:41 pm
The final two sentences of this article:
“With all due respect to Blake Shelton, unless he somehow dramatically reversed course and was able to offer the type of lasting influence Roy Acuff, Hank Williams, or George Strait did, his name isn’t even worth shortlisting. And Blake Shelton would probably be the first to tell you that.”
Also said, “Blake Shelton doesn’t even appear to be making this claim himself.”
I don’t blame Blake Shelton for this. I blame “The Voice” and their promotional team.
September 20, 2020 @ 5:59 pm
France. Are you simple? Blake knows about these promos. Give your pointy head a shake.
Sandra Ann Smith
September 20, 2020 @ 1:55 pm
Trigger, Blake didn’t start standing up for country’s roots until Ray Price putt him in his place (when Blake stated that kids didn’t want to listen to their grandparents music). Look it up. Just saying.
September 20, 2020 @ 2:10 pm
Yeah, not to sound too full of myself, but I don’t have to look it up. I broke the news.
September 20, 2020 @ 7:31 pm
You wrote an article about the old farts comment? Really? That was you? I had no idea! You never talk about it or link it in every article you write about Blake Shelton. Wow, mind blown!
September 20, 2020 @ 7:37 pm
“Don’t be such a stan”…wow. I’m going to turn it back around and say to you “don’t be such a hater.” The only criticism I’ve seen of this silly little commercial spot came from you. You have some ridiculous grudge against Blake Shelton but can’t stop writing about him because you know mentioning his name will drive the clicks and views. Look at me, I’m playing right into it and kicking myself for it.
September 21, 2020 @ 3:20 pm
The entire concept of ‘Saving Country Music’ is to do just that. Blake Shelton is not the King of Country nor will he ever be. Trigger is following good journalistic practice and pointing out that this could be misconstrued as reality, when in fact it’s not. Blake Shelton blew his chance of getting a proper defense on this one SEE JOY. He sold out. He’s now clad in face makeup and judges 18 year old’s on a reality TV show and cuts synthesized versions of pop country with his buddy luke bryan.
September 20, 2020 @ 12:07 pm
When I hear a Miranda song on the Voice again I just might believe that.
September 20, 2020 @ 11:56 am
Correct on your statements. No, he is not a king but between his shenanigans he has done some good things for country, past and present. Or course, I am more interested in the past.
September 20, 2020 @ 12:03 pm
King?? Court jester maybe, if Dumb and Dumber (aka Florida Georgia Line) didn’t already have that title. LOL
Old-old-old-old fart… ja-ja-ja-jackass…
September 20, 2020 @ 12:06 pm
Oh no way ! Mr George Strait is the king and has been for decades. I’ve followed him since 1979 and he still sings the best and truly still so damn easy on the eyes..💙
September 20, 2020 @ 12:19 pm
Old farts and jackasses
May we never forget
He’s a prick, plain and simple
He thinks he knows a lot about country music because he likes John Anderson
I liked John Anderson when I was 8 years old
He’s a wiener who probably doesn’t win a country record from before 1990 (read: doesn’t own any actual country records)
And thinks a dobro is a Pokémon and a banjo is a Native American tribe
I bet he thinks a telecaster is what you write Morse code with
Fortunately I’m convinced he’s going to die when he stops to admire his reflection in the chrome of an oncoming bus
September 20, 2020 @ 3:48 pm
I guess people are so desperate for clicks and decided to make a story out of a nonissue. Why is he a prick? Do you know him personally and has he done something to you? You’re always very insulting and the only one that looks like a prick is you. If you ever bothered to watch any of his interviews or even watch him perform you’ll see how much knowledge and respect he has for country music. You may think you’re clever with your insults but he’s still successful and will continue to be. You still have playing in your little bars to make you feel significant. Maybe, you’ll have the misfortune of coming in contact with an oncoming bus.
September 20, 2020 @ 5:07 pm
If you respect something
You don’t insult it.
That’s common sense
He’s made it very clear how he feels about country music
And I’m sure I know more about it than he does
Since I have a music theory degree and a published book.
Probably never heard of Vernon Oxford
September 20, 2020 @ 7:47 pm
Fuzzy, I’d be interested in reading your book. What’s it about?
September 20, 2020 @ 8:01 pm
My book is a murder mystery/slice of life comedy. It’s loosely dystopian in nature. It’s called “Eustace Wilkinson’s Wall” and paperbacks can be bought on amazon
I’m trying to get some worldbuilding going and get some more stuff worked on too.
September 22, 2020 @ 11:25 am
That book sounds interesting. So your advertising worked to perfection.
September 20, 2020 @ 12:27 pm
There is only ONE “King of Country” that I know of and that’s King George Strait!!! Everyone else stands behind or below him in importance, music catalog, longevity, respect, influence and love of his fans. For the last 40 years he has been who he is, made the music he wanted to make and performed on stage without succumbing to the trends of each year or decade. His influence on other male country singers is acknowledged by every one of them….ask them….they will gladly confess to it. Case closed….:)
September 20, 2020 @ 6:01 pm
There is only one King, and his name was George Jones. Case closed.
September 20, 2020 @ 7:47 pm
September 20, 2020 @ 12:57 pm
Get a life . He’s joking omg people i think you would have more to worry about
King Honky Of Crackershire Matters
September 20, 2020 @ 2:52 pm
You’ll never get to kiss Blake, Tammy. Never, ever, ever.
September 20, 2020 @ 1:15 pm
I humbly submit another regent in the succession – The Hag.
September 21, 2020 @ 4:36 pm
He may not be called a king, but he certainly rules!
September 20, 2020 @ 1:28 pm
I think the king of country is Hank Williams Sr. He is truly country and will always be king in my mind
September 20, 2020 @ 2:02 pm
The original King of Country is Roy Acuff and it states just that on his Hall of Fame plaque. Dizzy Dean officially gave him this nickname.
September 21, 2020 @ 3:32 am
It says her Dizzy Dean called him the King of the Hillbillies, to be exact. But no matter. I’d give my left nut to have had a nickname bestowed upon me by Dizzy Dean. How cool is that?
Keepin it Country
September 20, 2020 @ 2:09 pm
George Strait is the current king, and Alan Jackson would be second.Blake Shelton is the King….. Of Shitty music. Long live King George. And BTW on November 3rd, Vote George Strait for president and Alan Jackson for vice lol we already know George Straits foreign policy (If the whole world was a Honky Tonk)
September 20, 2020 @ 2:19 pm
roy acuff is the “rough cut king of country music,” and no one will ever be close.
and, don’t hate me for saying this, but I’d give it to tom t hall or buck owens or tubb before I gave it to strait, who I’ve always felt was a little bit dull.
September 20, 2020 @ 2:36 pm
The most important distinction between the guys who’ve rightfully been awarded the term “King” and everyone else is that it was a nickname that stuck. There are artists that are just as important if not more. But that name never worked for them. “King” Willie Nelson or “King” Tom T. Hall just feels weird.
September 20, 2020 @ 6:13 pm
I’d call Blake Shelton the “Sultan” of country music, though. It connotes wealth, status, obesity, and is mildly derisive.
September 24, 2020 @ 3:05 pm
You get a shiver in the dark, it’s raining in the park ,but meantime…
September 20, 2020 @ 2:27 pm
So when George “retires” the crown someday ,
I mean… Wouldn’t Luke Combs be the only suitable successor in the mainstream world?? Maybe Brad Paisley or Dierks Bentley? Chris Stapleton? Jon Pardi if he gets bigger.. ??
If it’s based only on longevity and sales… Then I’m sure Combs will be that guy for 30+ years
September 20, 2020 @ 2:38 pm
*** Personally, I don’t think a successor will ever be named.
Multiple media outlets will refer to Combs, Rhett, Hunt, Wallen, Brown etc as the “King” in the years to come. The title will become meaningless…
King George is the last in the country music Dynasty.
September 20, 2020 @ 2:41 pm
I doubt any of them like being referenced as king- of anything. That’s a pretty heady title and silly to bestow it on anyone outside of a line in a song trying to make a point- once you’re down in Texas Bob Wills is still the king- that’s cause honky tonks in Texas were a natural second home- arguing about it is even sillier. But, the Empty Suit brigade at NBC appreciates it I’m sure.
September 20, 2020 @ 2:47 pm
Isn’t it safe to say that the current Queen of Country is Carrie Underwood?
(Besides Dolly, Loretta, & Reba)
Carrie will likely hold that crown for decades to come.
Sadly, I think the “King” title will retire with George.
September 20, 2020 @ 8:08 pm
Miranda is the current Queen of Country Music. We can ask King George Strait but I’m sure he would agree.
September 20, 2020 @ 2:48 pm
Why does everybody have to be so mean.
Like him, don’t like him, why be so nasty.
King Honky Of Crackershire Matters
September 20, 2020 @ 2:49 pm
It always bothered me that people call George Strait “King”.
Blake Shelton isn’t even a legitimate C(c)ountry singer. He sings bastard music. He’s a “Country” bastard.
September 20, 2020 @ 3:29 pm
Eeewwwww, no. Not even close
September 20, 2020 @ 3:41 pm
Just curious. I know Tammy Wynette is the First Lady. Is Kitty Wells or Dolly considered the Q
Queen? Does Loretta and Patsy have a title?
September 20, 2020 @ 3:58 pm
Here’s a rundown from 2016. Of course these things are open to some interpretation.
September 20, 2020 @ 6:10 pm
This needs an update:
The Founder of “Beach Country” – Tracy Byrd
The King of “Beach Country” – Kenny Chesney
The Founder & Kings of “Bro Country” – Florida Georgia Line
The Founder of “R&B” Country – Sam Hunt
The Founder of “Boyfriend” Country – Lonestar, Rascal Flatts
The current Kings of “Boyfriend Country” – Dan & Shay, Thomas Rhett
Keepin it Country
September 20, 2020 @ 6:27 pm
I think Reva is the queen in my opinion
Keepin it Country
September 20, 2020 @ 6:29 pm
Reba, oops spelling error
September 20, 2020 @ 3:42 pm
Can’t find the time or interest in reviewing his actual music but jumping to take digs at a promotional device from NBC that Blake doesn’t himself use? So much ~concern~. Sounds about right.
September 20, 2020 @ 3:57 pm
Actually I’ve reviewed most of Blake Shelton’s recent albums and singles
“If I’m Honest”
September 20, 2020 @ 5:31 pm
same ole. Give it a rest. Blake is well aware of these promo ads. I’m sure he’s revelling in the glow of his own greatness. Don’t get me wrong, I like some of his music, but he’s as far from a ‘king’ of country as you can get.
September 20, 2020 @ 3:55 pm
Can we get some reviews for Waylon Payne and Justin Wells?
September 20, 2020 @ 4:37 pm
I have been reviewing records left and right. The amount of people reading my reviews are nearing record lows, which usually happens the more reviews I post. I will post more reviews in 2020 than any other year, and by a wide margin. Also the more reviews I post, the more criticism I receive for not posting enough reviews, and the more people accuse me of specifically excluding certain albums from review.
Both the Justin Wells and Waylon Payne albums are on my radar, and being considered for review. They both also have already been highlighted on the site in dedicated features:
September 20, 2020 @ 6:59 pm
I’m with ya’ Trigger. Of course, OlaR has your back on missed reviews it seems.
Do the best you can. Time is limited. With all our gripes and complaints, I am sure I speak for many that your work is appreciated, even if we do get a bit crass at times.
September 20, 2020 @ 4:25 pm
Trigger, you’re 100% right; Blake isn’t king of anything. I hold no brief for him, but imagine he would probably be mortified if he honestly thought anybody was comparing him to Acuff, Williams, or Strait as opposed to some inane NBC marketing drivel.
September 20, 2020 @ 4:50 pm
Blake Shelton has a better chance of being Emperor of Ethiopia than he does being King of Country Music.
September 20, 2020 @ 5:27 pm
I think many would argue that George Jones was the King of Country long before Strait. But no, Blake Shelton is not the king of country. A pawn? Maybe.
September 20, 2020 @ 6:08 pm
Their use of the word “country” is brand-language bullsh*t.
A more accurate title would be “Blake is King of The Voice’s ‘Country’ Category on NBC.”
But it doesn’t have the same ring, does it.
September 20, 2020 @ 9:10 pm
I would agree that in spinning teacup karaoke land, Blake is definitely the King of Country.
Outside of that, nah.
September 20, 2020 @ 10:41 pm
Oh for fuck’s sake it’s a joke! In the next breath they have a clip of Gwen saying he may be the king of country but he’s really burned out. Then everybody laughs. It’s a show promo showing the judges being funny.
Slow news day? Don’t you have indie albums to review or something?
September 22, 2020 @ 5:52 am
Beg your pardon, ma’am, but we take these things very seriously.
September 22, 2020 @ 6:29 am
You want to do something serious instead of this bullshit?
Blake and Gwen are performing at a virtual fundraiser for the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. October 1. Go buy a $50 ticket and help feed people instead of arguing about who the fucking king of country is.
Because you didn’t like an ad for a TV show.
Music is not a monarchy. There is no king. It was a joke. Geez!
September 22, 2020 @ 12:23 pm
I don’t have $50. I share your love for Queen Gwendolina though. 🤠
September 21, 2020 @ 3:52 am
I’ll take Waylon and Merle for the win… with Strait as my “modern” day favorite.
September 21, 2020 @ 4:29 am
September 21, 2020 @ 8:11 am
Well he was also named sexiest man alive by People Magazine, so… 🤷🏻♂️🤦🏻♂️🙄
September 21, 2020 @ 9:17 am
I don’t know why but I’m stuck on a “Blake Shelton Reverse Cowboy.” It’s not even a quote from the article…
September 22, 2020 @ 10:09 am
The question for me is do we even need another “King”. I think it would behoove us to educate the folks on the past royalty first. The lack of a basic knowledge of (not just country music history) but US music history as a whole is kind of of shameful. Especially considering that the US birthed modern music and the recording industry as we know it today.
People have mentioned Alan Jackson… but I don’t think King suits him as a nickname he needs something more folksy, like “Possum” or “Man In Black”.
Also with the way terms are tossed about don’t be surprised is somebody suggest Miranda Lambert for “King of Country”.
September 22, 2020 @ 10:03 pm
Racoon AJ = Alan Jackson
Deer in Headlights = Travis Trit
(Legend status nicknames that need to be a thing)