Blake Shelton - 'Red River Blue'

Blake Shelton is an American country singer originally from Ada, Oklahoma. He has released seven studio albums, the latest two being his Christmas album Cheers It's Christmas earlier this year and Red River Blue in 2011. Alongside his music he has also made more of a name for himself as one of four coaches on The Voice in America.

He has dueted with a lot of different artists, including singing I Will alongside his The Voice season one contestant Dia Frampton. The song was included in Dia's debut album Red and is a lovely song. It is softer than a lot of Blake's other songs but really suits his voice and his and Dia's voices merge well together.

My favourite song of Blake's is definitely God Gave Me You. Whilst this song is actually a cover of a Dave Barnes song, Blake's version is very accomplished with, in my opinion, just the right levels of instrumentalisation. The message behind the song is also really nice, with lyrics about support and love. The song also became Blake's fifth consecutive number one (and tenth in total) when it was released as a single in July 2011.

I am also a big fan of the track Honey Bee. It is an upbeat, summery song that makes you want to turn the volume up and sing along. The production is well controlled throughout the song in that it never seems too much and adds to the dynamic rather than overshadowing the vocals. As with many of the other tracks, I find that whilst you can enjoy the tune, the song is made even better when you pay close attention to the lyrics and to the story they tell.

Red River Blue also features two duets, I'm Sorry alongside Martina McBride and the title track which is sung alongside Blake's wife Miranda Lambert. I'm Sorry is a very powerful song, helped along by the strong drum beat and electric guitar accompaniment. We as listeners only hear Martina rarely during the song but I feel this works well and Martina and Blake's vocals blend very well.

In contrast, Red River Blue is a much more restrained song. With a simple instrumental accompaniment the whole song is very calm and relaxed, allowing the focus to be on Blake's (and then Miranda's) vocals. I feel the verses are very strong and build up nicely but then are pulled back by the chorus which almost fights against where the song wants to go.

It was very hard to decide but I think my least favourite song is probably Get Some. Compared to some of Blake's other songs I find it is very pedestrian which is probably not helped by the continuous drum beat that doesn't change throughout the song. I keep wanting the song to progress and it seems to struggle to.

Blake caused an upset at this CMA awards when he walked away with Entertainer Of The Year - one of three awards he received that night. He was expected by many fans to receive Male Vocalist Of The Year and it was hoped he would receive Song Of The Year alongside Miranda Lambert for their song Over You. It was however definitely a surprise for fans and press alike when he won Entertainer Of The Year, especially considering he was nominated alongside singers such as Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley, both of which have had huge years.

Many UK country fans have already expressed a hope that Blake Shelton will tour over in the UK but nothing has been announced yet. I certainly hope he will tour over here as I would love to see him live and there are already some great acts coming over to the UK next year.

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