blake II the tennessean
Blake Shelton drinks to his 24th, 25th No. 1 hits at Ole Red Nashville
Blake Shelton went bar-hopping Tuesday — he bounced from his new Ole Red restaurant and bar in Gatlinburg, which is still under construction, to his Nashville location on Lower Broadway, which he officially opened in June.
Gatlinburg’s Ole Red, which is at 511 Parkway, is set to open in March and will include a bar, restaurant, retail space and a stage that Shelton hopes will be a home for local musicians, “The Voice” contestants, Opry members and charting contemporary country singers.
“I want these venues to be a state of mind,” Shelton said, lounging on the couch in his dressing room at Nashville’s Ole Red. “I want them to take you somewhere. I really feel like the Gatlinburg venue can be that, for sure. If you have one shred of your body and mind that enjoys the outdoors and a country lifestyle, Gatlinburg is heaven to you.”
After holding a news conference in Gatlinburg to deliver an update on the space, Shelton jetted to Nashville to celebrate his 24th and 25th No. 1 hits at Ole Red with the songwriters who wrote them. Brad Warren, Brett Warren, Aimee Mayo and Chris Lindsey wrote “Every Time I Hear That Song.” Matt Dragstrem, Ben Hayslip and Josh Thompson penned “I’ll Name the Dogs.”
Country music is changing rapidly, and that’s OK and it has to be OK,” Shelton said. “But (‘I’ll Name the Dogs’) sounded like something Shenandoah would have cut in the ‘80s. I thought, ‘We might be on borrowed time getting something like this on the radio.’ ”
Shelton’s producer Scott Hendricks said “I’ll Name the Dogs” was a “duh” moment for him.
"This is the song we love to hear,” Hendricks said. The lighthearted ditty is his 71st No. 1 hit as a producer. “I didn’t have to hear all of it before I knew.”
After the celebration, Shelton said the same ‘80s country inspiration that he heard in “I’ll Name the Dogs” informed his current country single, “Turnin’ Me On.” Shelton co-wrote the song about his girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, with Jessi Alexander and Josh Osborne.
“There’s no question what it’s about or who it’s about,” Shelton said. “I think the sound and the melody … when I was messing around and came up with that melody, I was probably listening to Ronnie Milsap because it goes back to that era."
The country singer and "The Voice" coach has noticed it’s getting harder to have the same level of success with songs that smack of his ‘80s country influence. He admitted that he isn’t sure he can write songs that sound exactly like the contemporary country that’s popular on radio. And he’s fine with that.
“I've always tried to push the line as far as I could musically and artistically just because I wanted to, and I’m satisfied by that,” he said. “I also know what I love, and I’ve got to do that, too. I’m just trying to figure out that path.”