Before Blake Shelton heard "God's Country," he thought his career might have already reached its peak. The 43-year-old wasn't sure he had more No. 1 hits in his future, let alone a song that would earn him three CMA Awards nominations, winning the trophy for Single of the Year.
"For me, it was a little bit of a throwback with a little more of a rock edge," Shelton shared with PopCulture.com and other media backstage at the CMA Awards. "I knew that there were at least some people out there that were starving for a song like that, because I was one of them. But I had no idea that it would do everything that it did for me, and [I'd] stand up holding one of these things, because you can never see that coming. But I'm really happy it did because it shows me that there's still an audience out there that's starving for music like that and radio, it still gives it a chance and it works for all of us."
Shelton heard "God's Country" while working on his Oklahoma ranch, and knew right away he needed to cut it, more for himself than anyone else.
"I think the success of 'God's Country' is a combination of the message of the song and simply the title of the song, kind of where we are now," reflected the singer. "Our culture in this country is refreshing just to see it. Also I think the song – you don't hear songs that sound like that anymore. And as I say that, there probably hasn't been that many to begin with, but it's just one of those things that kind of has the 'Country Boy Can Survive' element to it."
Shelton has had plenty of hits over the last two decades, with most of his success able to be traced back to advice he heard in the early days of his career.
"There was a guy that was pretty important in my career early on named Doug Johnson, who was one of the guys that signed me to Giant Records," Shelton recalled. "He used to always tell me the right three-and-a-half minutes can make a liar out of anybody. And that's still relevant today as it was almost 20 years ago when he signed me ... And not only that, the right three-and-a-half minutes can kind of reignite my passion and excitement for what I do now.
"It's always, there in me," he added. "Sometimes I just need a song like 'God's Country 'to slap me in the face and go, 'Hey man, you need to pay attention and get back after this.' And that's what I did."
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