Blake Shelton stays true to traditional country roots with Bringing Back The Sunshine
Blake Shelton’s 11th studio album, Bringing Back The Sunshine, marks a return to showcasing a talent that “sonically represents the best contemporary country has to offer, yet feels like the classic cuts served up by the heroes that inspired Shelton as young boy in Ada, Oklahoma.” A press announcement posted on BlakeShelton.com adds that the Warner Bros. Nashville release produced by longtime friend and collaborator, Scott Hendricks, is an album that highlights “what is [sic] arguably the most powerful vocals Blake Shelton has ever recorded.” In fact, Shelton readily admits that singing is the most important part of being a country music artist.
“I’m a fan of a lot of artists, but I always gravitate to the singers,” says Shelton, “and that’s why I always looked up to Earl Thomas Conley, Travis Tritt, Ronnie Milsap, Conway Twitty. These guys never went through the motions when it came to laying down a vocal.” Shelton adds he considers it his job to be the best singer he can be when he gets in the studio. “I don’t ever want someone to hear me on the radio and say ‘Yeah, he’s singing okay, but where’s the heart?’ I want it all to be in there,” he says.
Ever since his 2001 debut single ‘Austin’ topped the country radio charts, Shelton’s unprecedented hot streak seems destined to continue on his new album. From “soaring confessionals and convincing professions of love and loss” in cuts such as ‘Good Country Song,’ ‘Sangria,’ and ‘Anyone Else’ to the “immediately memorable up- and mid-tempos” such as ‘Buzzin’,’ ‘Gonna,’ and the Southern rock/country title track, Bringing Back The Sunshine is hailed as “the exact tonic country music needs right now.”
“The only thing I really knew I wanted to do for sure—and Scott [Hendricks] agreed—was, ‘let’s make a ‘country-er’ record than we’ve made in a while,” explains Shelton, “and I do think we accomplished that. It definitely has elements of things you hear on the radio now, but I think it’s more of a throwback to some of those earlier albums I made with [producer] Bobby Braddock, as far as the lyrical content and even the melodies.”
Billboard calls Bringing Back The Sunshine “One of Shelton’s strongest recent efforts,” noting the reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year earned his second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 (selling more than 100,000 copies in its first week of release). The album is only the third country album to top the Billboard 200 this year, following Eric Church's The Outsiders and wife Miranda Lambert’s Platinum release. In addition, lead single ‘Neon Light’ is currently No. 5 on the Mediabase Country radio airplay chart, and No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
The news release summarizes Bringing Back The Sunshine by stating it “showcases the many facets of a complicated person with a simple mission: creating a diverse, powerful country music album.” Blake Shelton is supporting the new album with 2015 tour dates that kick off March 21 at the Runaway Country Festival in Melbourne, Florida. He’s also scheduled to appear at Stagecoach in Indio, Calif. (April 26), Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City, Iowa (May 23), and the Buckeye Country Superfest in Columbus, Ohio (June 20).
Watch the official music video for ‘Neon Light’ off Blake Shelton’s new studio album Bringing Back The Sunshine.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Blake Tollison Shelton was born June 18, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma. He began singing at an early age and learned to play guitar by age twelve. Young Blake wrote his first song as a 15-year-old, and the next year received a Denbo Diamond Award—the highest award presented to young entertainers in Oklahoma.
* Shelton moved to Nashville in 1994 after graduating high school and touring the Oklahoma bar circuit. Three years later, songwriter-producer Bobby Braddock helped Shelton land a job at a music publishing company, where he sold songs to several publishing houses and signed a solo contract with Giant Records (now Warner Bros. Nashville).
* Shelton’s traditional style of country that favored sentimental ballads and blue-collar rockers led to his 2001 No. 1 debut single, ‘Austin.’ Follow up singles ‘All Over Me’ and ‘Ol' Red’ followed in 2002, pushing Shelton's self-titled debut album to gold sales status. Second album The Dreamer appeared in February 2003, scoring another No. 1 hit with ‘The Baby.’
* The album Barn & Grill followed in 2004, led by third No. 1 single ‘Some Beach’ and three other hit singles. Shelton’s fourth consecutive gold album, Pure BS, was issued in 2007, featuring a No. 1 country cover of Michael Bublé's ‘Home,’ and a guest appearance by girlfriend and fellow country singer, Miranda Lambert.
* Startin' Fires is Shelton’s fifth studio album. The 2008 release features lead-off single, ‘She Wouldn't Be Gone,’ which became Shelton's 14th Top 40 country hit and fifth No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Shelton co-wrote the track ‘Bare Skin Rug’ with future wife, Miranda Lambert, whom he married in May 2011.
* The 2010 EPs Hillbilly Bone and All About Tonight yielded three more No. 1 hits for Shelton, followed in 2011 by the chart-topping ‘Honey Bee,’ which doubled as the lead single from the singer’s sixth album, Red River Blue. Shelton also began his reign as a star coach on the hit singing competition series, The Voice.
* Shelton’s career highlights include a CMA Entertainer of the Year award, three RIAA certified platinum albums, five RIAA certified gold albums, 17 No. 1 country singles, album sales that surpass 7.5 million, a four-year run as reigning CMA Male Vocalist of the Year, and three wins as a coach on The Voice, now in its seventh season.