From there, the conversation turned to Blake’s new album, “If I’m Honest,” available Friday.  Blake discussed the theme of the album: “I wanted the record to follow the timeline of my life last year.  I wanted it to start out with life’s normal, everything is going like it’s been for a long time.  Then straight into how it happened, all of a sudden the bottom falls out, and people can go on that journey with me. That’s why there’s such a contrast from from the first song to the second song.  Then it gets sad, then gets happier, then really happy, and ends with ‘Savior’s Shadow.'”

Blake went on to say he wrote more songs for this album than for any previous project.  But he also sought material from some of Nashville’s best songwriters: “A lot of writers knew my story and wrote for this project for me.  They knew what the situation was and wrote these songs for me for this record.  For that to happen and for these to be the incredible songs they are is meant to be.  When I started to weigh my songs against some of these other songs, I felt they said it way better than I did, and I don’t care who writes the songs.”

That was the case with the first single, “Came Here To Forget:” He said, “This is a song I absolutely fell in love with the first time I heard it.  Craig Wiseman was given the task to write a song for me about what had happened to me in my personal life and when I first started seeing Gwen, it’s all in there.  The only difference is we didn’t actually meet in a bar.”

The last time Blake co-hosted the Countdown, in November, he made national news describing 2015 as the worst year in his life, but the way it ended made it the best year in his life.  Lon played that quote for Blake and asked him to explain what he meant: “At the time, when you go through what I went through with my divorce, you never know when it’s the right time to step out and say I’ve started seeing someone.  But what I found out, because it wasn’t someone from my hometown, it was Gwen Stefani that I was beginning to have this relationship with.  There was no hiding it.  If I glance her way, it’s the cover of magazines.  If I could have kept my personal life private, I would have.  Since I can’t, I might as well let people in on the truth.  If I’m doing my job as a country singer, I’m supposed to sing about my real life experiences.”

Speaking of Gwen, Blake co-wrote and sings a song with her on the album called “Go Ahead & Break My Heart.”  He talked about writing the song: “Coming out of separating with somebody, Gwen & I both had some trust issues.  So I wrote the first verse to this song and I sent it to Gwen.  She was like, ‘This is exactly how I feel.’  I said why don’t we write it together?  And we did, and she actually wrote the second verse, and I knew we had to do it as a duet.”

In addition, we play an excerpt from the second song on the album, one that’s received some attention lately, called “She’s Got a Way With Words.”  Blake didn’t write it, and he explained, “That was a song I’ve had for a while, that dates back before my divorce.   It was so crazy that I had that song and it fit this project.  I loved the song, thought it was so clever, it’s one of the most well-written songs I’ve heard in my life.  It’s so tongue-in-cheek.” (there’s a YouTube performance of this song below)

Another song they discussed was “Every Goodbye.”  Blake said, “That’s where my life started to go from a dark place going through a divorce, and Gwen was going through the same thing.  It started as a friendship, something we could talk about here at The Voice, to eventually we traded emails, and then traded phone numbers.  That’s how it developed.  We basically saved each other’s lives.  So that’s where the album turns.  One door shuts and another one opens, I would have never thought it would be that door.”

One song you DID write is “Friends,” which is also included in the Angry Birds movie.  But this deals with the subject of your relationship with Gwen: “Yeah of all the people, she was the last person I expected to step out of the crowd and be the one to have my back, and be there and be the shoulder and be the one to fight that fight with me, getting back on my feet, and out of nowhere, there she was.”

Blake didn’t write “A Guy With A Girl,” but it sounds like one he could have. Blake described it this way: “It’s fun to go somewhere like the ACM Awards and people come up to me, exhaust all conversation, and you realize they want to meet Gwen.  That’s what it’s all about.  It’s a song I had for a while, and then all of a sudden it made sense for me to record it.  I could have done it 3 albums ago.  I can’t remember exactly.  I keep reading how surprised people are that I’m seeing Gwen.  I’ve got to do this song!”

Are there songs that someone else wrote that are hard for you to sing? “Yes, ‘Bet You Still Think About Me.” I think anybody who’s gone through any break-up, even after you’ve moved on, you still have that in the back of your mind. It says I know it couldn’t work out, it is what it is, but I bet you miss me sometimes, that’s basically what the song is about.  You get to a point, speaking for myself, that you go there’s no way, we’ve exhausted every avenue, and we just have to move on.”

The final song on the album is one Blake wrote called “Savior’s Shadow:” “That song is still a mystery. Last Spring was not a good time in my life personally.  I woke up and it was raining outside.  And I was trying to remember my dream.  There was a song in my dream.  So I grabbed my guitar and sang into my voice memo the first part of this song.  I’ve dreamed songs before, but always been too lazy to write them down.  So when I got sad, I’d sing this song to myself.  But I didn’t know what it meant.  As time passed by, I realized God was on this journey with me.  That’s when I wrote the second verse.  Then I called a couple writer friends who helped me with the chorus.  I’ve probably listened to their demo 15 times and cried like a baby each time.  I knew I had to get this song out to the public.”

Blake wrapped up talking about the album this way: “For me, this album is the way that I’m going to finally heal, get over it, and move on.  As I’m speaking to you right now, I’m really a happy guy.  I hope people understand that, and I get it, because what they see and what they read in the magazines.  I saw a quote from Jerry Seinfeld that said, ‘If you read tabloids, you deserve to be lied to.’  And I thought that’s perfect.  That’s great!  That’s kind of how I feel.”