Thanks to Andrew for sharing his thoughts on Blake Shelton’s latest CD, “Red River Blue.” I haven’t listened to this CD yet, but I love the cover. It really shows that sometimes, less is more. Not a lot of text, not a lot of pictures – just what you need to get your point across. Now, here is Andrew’s review:
Review by Andrew W. Griffin
The Norman Transcript
“Red River Blue”
Warner Bros (2011)
Oklahoma is becoming increasingly known as the home to a lot of entertainers, particularly musicians — and more specifically, folks in country music.
Ada-native Blake Shelton is no exception. For a decade now, Shelton, now living in Tishomingo with his country star wife Miranda Lambert, has been releasing hit after hit on country radio. With his latest, “Red River Blue,” Shelton has offered up a full-fledged album (11 songs) compared to his past two EP’s, “Hillbilly Bone” and “All About Tonight.”
The album is pretty standard Nashville fare with a few standout songs written by some of the best Music City has to offer. A who’s who of “Nashville Cats” provide appealing, accessible riffs and musical flair. It’s even produced by top-notch Oklahoma-native and producer Scott Hendricks (Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn).
But is that enough? Is Shelton spending too much time as a judge on “The Voice” or back at the southern Oklahoma ranch with Mrs. Shelton? All I know is that “Red River Blue” is no “Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill,” the 2004 album that really caught my attention.
Listen to the history-making, monster single “Honey Bee.” It’s catchy in its own way. “You’re this, I’m that” phrasing and a references to Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty’s 1973 hit “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.”
It will feel like 1980 with the urban cowboy, Don Williams-styled “Ready to Roll,” with its fat bass line and sing-a-long, beers-in-the-air chorus. It’s a good summer song and one of the best on the album.
But then the sappy ballads roll around — stuff like the saccharine “God Gave Me You” or the poppy “Drink On It.” Or cringe-worthy songs like “I’m Sorry,” geared toward his female fans, I suppose. I don’t know what it is, but Shelton doesn’t shine as much on these sorts of slow songs.
But sometimes he does. The sensitive title track, with a tasteful acoustic flavor and vocals shared with Lambert, simply works well. This is not to be confused with the Luke Olson song of the same name.
But back to Shelton’s strengths. It’s the songs like the dobro-heavy “Good Ole Boys,” where Shelton laments the current lack of manners and fashion sense among the population and the lack of “good ole boys.” Fans of Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams Jr. will respond well to this outlaw-style track.
It was interesting to note that on the rowdy, Shelton-riffic “Get Some,” one of the co-writers is Zac Maloy, former member of The Nixons, the Oklahoma City band that hit big in mid-90s with grunge-lite songs like “Sister.” Good to see Shelton is giving fellow Okies some work.
“Red River Blue” is a mixed bag. If it had left off the schmaltz and been released as an EP — a successful move in the recent past — it would have been a far better release.
Time to head out of here for this morning. I hope you all have a great day. And keep cool! Thanks again to Andrew for the review. Talk to you all real soon!
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