It's hard to believe, but Blake Shelton not long ago believed his career was almost over. The 43-year-old had had a series of hits, but nothing that, at least in his mind, came close to some of the successes he enjoyed earlier in his career. He was already resigning himself to the fact that his best days, at least in country music, were behind him.
“I thought I was on the last couple of pages,” Shelton admitted to Nashville Lifestyles. “That sounds dumb to say … but you can feel it when it starts to not be as exciting as it was.”
That was, of course, until he heard "God's Country," which stopped him in his tracks, literally, and reignited a fire in him, one that he thought might have been dying out. "God's Country" became a platinum-selling, No. 1 hit, and reminded Shelton that he still had work to do.
“If you had told me in 1994 when I moved to Nashville that I would even have one hit, I would have kissed you on the mouth,” Shelton quipped. “This has been an unbelievable ride and every time I start to think it’s slowing down, something like ‘God’s Country’ happens and not only reignites my career, it reignites my passion for what I do.”
Shelton still vividly remembers where he was and what he was doing when his producer, Scott Hendricks, sent him "God's Country."
“It was the most shocking moment I’ve had in my 20 years of doing this,” Shelton told The Tennessean. “I was in a place that I consider to be God’s country doing the thing that makes me feel the most connected to God, which is working on the land. I heard that song, and I had one of those moments that you hear people talk about … where they say they pulled over on the side of the highway and listened. I literally had that moment.”
"God's Country" inspired Shelton to head back into the studio, recording several new songs to be included on his upcoming Fully Loaded: God's Country album, which also includes another personal song, "Nobody But You," which he sings with his girlfriend, Gwen Stefani.
“I was just floored,” Shelton recalled of hearing the romantic tune. “I realized how important that song was for me, and where I am in my life right now. I think that’s why Shane [McAnally] was trying to get it to me because he knows enough about my personal life … to know, ‘This has got to get to Blake because it fits his story.’”
Photo Credit: Getty / Jeff Kravitz