Blake Shelton’s single “God’s Country” is one of Shelton’s favorite songs he ever recorded. In fact, when he heard the song for the very first time, he was so moved that he needed to pull over. The country superstar, though, was not behind the steering wheel on an expressway, but he was driving his skid-steer on his Oklahoma farm.
Bet the country setting even more intensified his connection to the music.
“I was shocked,” Blake Shelton recalled. “I had to stop and just listen to this song because the song was talking to me about a place that I was in at that moment, which was a place in the middle of nowhere that meant something to me that probably nobody else could ever understand, what that is and what it is inside of me and what my connection is to the land.”
It was the most shocking moment for Shelton in his career that spanned for two decades. “I was in a place physically 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 … It’s almost like a chance to stop and catch your breath and go, ‘We’re still all here. We still like this stuff, too, right?'”
At that very moment, Blake Shelton realized that he’s got to record “God’s Country.” “And I think I even decided before I even recorded it, ‘This has got to be the song that I put out next.'”
The country superstar definitely made the right decision.
He Owes His Career To “God’s Country”
Blake Shelton’s new song reinvigorated his radio status. He scored 26th No. 1 single of his career as “God’s Country” rose to No. 1 on both the Mediabase chart and Billboard Country Airplay chart. In 2019, the song won him his first Country Music Association (CMA) Awards in the category of Single of the Year.
Blake Shelton also received his 9th Grammy nomination for “God’s Country” during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards for the category Best Country Solo Performance. The song was also certified platinum for selling more than a million copies.
“This could be the biggest record I’ve ever had,” Blake Shelton admitted. “I mean, it certainly looks like it could be. And for it to be 18, 19 years now, into my career, and to just now be having that record, I never would have dreamed. I literally thought those days and those types of records for me were ten years ago, five years ago, and everybody has their moment, and then it’s over.”
But before all this success, the country music star did not imagine any more hit songs to come.
“I just kinda felt like, ‘Well, that window closed. That time came and went,’ you know?” he said.
“As strange as that sounds, it was just, ‘How do I fit in anymore?'”
When he was asked why he was talking like he was on the “downside” of his career, the country music star said, “I think I just feel like one of these days people are going to wake up and go, ‘That guy’s been doing this for 20 years. That’s enough.'”
In order to understand the big impact of “God’s Country” on Blake Shelton’s career, we need to go back to the beginning of 2019. The country music star released singles off of his 2017 studio album, Texoma Shore, to the radio. That record’s first single, “I’ll Name the Dogs,” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart in late 2017. However, for his next two songs — “I Lived It” and “Turning Me On” – they peaked the Top 10, then quickly faltered even before reaching the top spot. Most artists would probably consider that a success, but for someone like Blake Shelton, who once earned 17 consecutive No. 1 hits, it felt like a pretty lackluster performance. That made him start to doubt whether his career was coming to a close.
During this time, the country music star was open about the fact that he didn’t know what’s in store for him. “I’ll be just as happy to release just another single. I do [have more songs], and I’ve got other stuff that I’m pumped about, but when I think about an album right now, I’m like, ‘Do people care about them anymore?’ I don’t know. But I’m having a blast just releasing singles. Maybe I’ll do that from now on,” Shelton said at the time.
Luckily, everything changed with “God’s Country.” It got him excited again. So before 2019 ended, he released the album, Fully Loaded: God’s Country.
“It just kind of turned everything around for me, as far as airplay — and even being nominated for something. Hell, I hadn’t even been nominated for a CMA [in five years]. I didn’t even mark that [awards show] off on my calendar anymore,” Shelton explained.
Blake Shelton performed “God’s Country” during the live broadcast of the 54th ACM Award in 2019, and this marked his first time singing the song on TV. His performance of “God’s Country” got him a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Release of the Cinematic “God’s Country” Video
Blake Shelton heads back to Oklahoma in the cinematic new video for “God’s Country.” The clip was directed by Sophie Muller and was filmed in and around Tishomingo, Oklahoma, where Shelton makes his primary residence.
“Well, I can tell you one thing for damn sure, Oklahoma is God’s country,” Blake Shelton said. “So that’s where we shot the music video for the song,” Shelton revealed. “We spent four days shooting there in and around Tishomingo, getting connected to the land, the environment, and the spirit of the music.”
“As I’ve said before, I was born in Oklahoma, and I’ll be buried there and Sophie Muller … really captured the countryside in a stark and vivid way.”
The video is a mix of vintage shots from the Dust Bowl as well as farmers standing in vast fields of dust. Scenes from modern times come flashing as the country music star explores the land. In the music video, Shelton performed “God’s Country” inside a disheveled barn as images of rattlesnakes, lightning storms, and a burning tractor that conveys the intensity of both the song and life as a farmer.
He Has The Writers to Thank For
“God’s Country” was written by a dream team of writers composed of country up-and-comers Hardy and Devin Dawson, together with songwriter Jordan Schmidt. These guys know the country music industry from inside and out.
The idea for “God’s Country” occur to Hardy during his deer hunting trip near where he grew up in Mississippi. When Hardy was just a child, his dad was fond of using the term “God’s Country” during football season, and being home set his memory off.
“It was a word that I’m familiar with, and I think a lot of people all over the country know the term and associate that term with where they’re from,” he said. “It’s that relatability across the board. I just threw it out.”
And when they get together to write “God’s Country,” they knew the song would be a hit for someone, but never did they imagine that it would be someone like Blake Shelton.
“We wrote it on a Thursday,” Dawson recalled. “Blake heard it, and by Monday, he had recorded it. I don’t know really how those work. I mean, sometimes songs last three years before they get cut. But this one, I just wrote a song that we loved, and it was the right timing, and the stars aligned. And, I got to sing harmony on it, when we were recording, so it’s really special for me. I’m excited about it.”
Shelton did not waste any minute in deciding to record “God’s Country,” too.
“I called Scott, and I go ‘Man, I don’t know where the song came from, but that makes me want to make another record.’ That reignites my excitement for what I do in country music,” Shelton revealed.
Dawson, on the other hand, was as happy as Blake Shelton too. In addition to co-writing “God’s Country,” he also sang the background vocals on the song.
“I’m so proud of the song and so excited that he wanted to sing it,” Dawson said. “Hardy and I both come from a metal background, and it’s pretty heavy, but it still has the lyric that I need to chew on. It has a heart. It really fits his voice so well.”
In August 2019, Blake Shelton took the Ole Red stage to shine the light on Devin Dawson, Jordan Schmidt, and Hardy. The three talented songwriters were on stage with Shelton as the country superstar said thank you to God and the three men for giving him the hit song. He also expressed his gratitude for his producer Scott Hendricks, who sent him the song.
Blake Shelton definitely believes that “God’s Country” is a powerful song, and he was so proud to be part of it. To Shelton, the song sounds like a remedy, like a cure, a missing link in country music.
“‘God’s Country‘ is a song that has a strong and deep meaningful lyric, but at the same time, it leaves it up to the listeners’ interpretation,” Shelton said. “But no matter where you are from or where you’re standing, it is my belief that you’re standing in God’s Country. It’s really about a state of mind. Wherever you’re from and how you feel about that place. For me, it’s about being from Oklahoma – where I was born, raised, and still live today.”
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