By Robyn Collins
Country superstar Blake Shelton is known for being unashamedly himself. On his new album, If I’m Honest, he opens up even more in the 15 tracks. He says, “I’ve never been as proud of an album as a body of work as I am of this one… I felt like with this record being so important to me and basically autobiographical, a snapshot of a year-and-a-half of my life, an ordinary album title would be a cop-out. I thought, ‘I can do better than that.’”
Blake sings several his own compositions, but in keeping with his successful pattern, he also included songs from many of Nashville’s best writers. Fans can expect an album full of emotion but also full of the fun Blake always brings to the table. The record starts with “Straight Outta Cold Beer” and includes a country-living song “Green” and “Doing It To Country Songs” featuring The Oak Ridge Boys.
Blake lays his heart wide open and takes us along for the ride in songs of love and loss, joy and pain like “Bet You Still Think About Me” and “Every Time I Hear That Song” as well as “Every Goodbye,” “Came Here To Forget,” “It Ain’t Easy,” “One Night Girl,” and “You Can’t Make This Up.” A highlight is the emotional “Go Ahead and Break My Heart” duet featuring co-writer Gwen Stefani. “It’s hard for me to talk about this song without smiling,” he says, “just for the fact that she and I wrote this thing together about our circumstances at the time.”
There’s evidence of Stefani again as Blake talks about “A Guy With A Girl,” a song about being with someone who turns every head. “I’ve experienced this so much in the last few months,” he says, “because Gwen goes to a completely different circle of award shows and parties than I’ve ever got to and so I’m like a fish out of water. I notice that people approach us but they’re really approaching her and that’s what this song is about—the guy is just the guy with her.”
Blake goes into previously uncharted waters with a gospel song, “Savior’s Shadow”. “For a guy like me who’s never really stepped out about my faith,” he says, “this is another matter of being honest, of talking about things that happened and how they played out.”
The record wraps up with “Friends.” A catchy, hooky, country song about friendship that Blake wrote for The Angry Birds movie, in which he voices Earl the Pig.
The laid back Oklahoma-born super star spreads his talents and his time from radio to tv, from Oklahoma to Nashville to LA, there’s nothing this guy can’t do, and he’s having a great time doing all of it. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see I’m happy right now,” he says. “Yes, life’s crazy, but it’s all turned out wonderfully. I’m a lucky guy.”