Album Review: Blake Shelton

Sunday, 05 November 2017 08:33 AM Written by 

 

blakeshelton-texomashore cover

Lake Texoma is an Oklahoma reservoir in that state between Dallas and Oklahoma City, and it's Blake Shelton's home turf. This is his eleventh album. Along with the platinum records, CMA, ACM and all the other awards, he's a true household name even beyond the country crowd due to his visibility on "The Voice" and other shows.

From the the time of his first album in 2001, Shelton established himself as a traditionalist, though in recent years he's broadened his scope. On Texoma Shore he returns to his roots. The album is free of gross overproduction and the empty posturing so many younger acts indulge in. It comes just a year after his previous album, When I'm Honest. Scott Hendricks, who's produced. Shelton since his 2011 double platinum album Red River Blues, handles things this time as well.

The blend of commerciality and austerity comes through in the lighthearted "I'll Name The Dog," the album's first single, and the catchy love song "Beside You Babe." There's a bit of hard living in "Why Me," the story of an everyday guy ecstatic over finding unexpected love with a classier woman. It's not the kind of theme the bro-country crowd tackled much, and Shelton gives the lyrics a solid reading. Anxiety permeates "When the Wine Wears Off," about a drunken bar pickup, the partying that follows and a concern whether she'll feel the same when sobriety breaks through the next day.

"Money's" good-humored semi-rap, adds a bit of bro-country (it mentions her cutoffs) as it celebrates the triumph of love over poverty. Shelton's name is on the composer credits of "Turnin' Me On," a sensual tale of a man so hopelessly enthralled and addicted to a woman who from her end, literally knows every one of his buttons to push and when.

"The Wave," however, packs a far greater emotional punch. His ballad of a broken man stumbling into new, unexpected love is superbly crafted, full of both the joy of discovery and romantic hope. His emotional performance is a high point, equaled by the closing track, the nostalgic ballad "I Lived It." It's a compelling, vividly drawn look at the good old days that were clearly good.

 

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