Multimedia star Blake Shelton, in a career-spanning interview with the Museum’s Michael McCall, tracks his evolution from a mullet-sporting country music hopeful from Ada, Oklahoma, to one of the genre’s most widely recognized stars.
The award-winning recording artist details the years leading up to the release of his self-titled first album in 2001 and how he came to score more than twenty #1 country hits. He acknowledges hesitating to accept an invitation to become a coach on NBC-TV’s hit series “The Voice,” and how his first meetings with fellow judges Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, and Adam Levine led to lifelong friendships.
Shelton opens with a solo performance of his first single, “Austin,” which spent five weeks at #1 on the “Billboard” Hot Country Singles chart in 2001. He recalls moving to Nashville at age eighteen, the role songwriters Mae Boren Axton and Bobby Braddock played in his career, and the importance of choosing the right songs, especially early on. As an example, he mentions “Ol’ Red,” a song he gambled on. Never a top radio hit—the song reached #14 on the “Billboard” country chart—“Ol’ Red” remains a fan favorite, as Shelton proves when he performs the song for a packed crowd in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater.
Shelton recalls his first attempt at writing a song as a child—“you kids won’t know, but we actually used paper, with a pencil”—and his first guitar, a Takamine, which he bought after seeing Garth Brooks play one on television.
The program ends with Shelton discussing his tenth album, “If I’m Honest” (2016), which features songs that deal with his divorce from singer Miranda Lambert and the beginning of his relationship with pop star Gwen Stefani. To close, Shelton performs “She’s Got a Way with Words,” in one of his first public performances of the hit song.
Presented in support of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum exhibition “Blake Shelton: Based on a True Story” (May 27, 2016, through November 6, 2016).
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