Blake II The Tennessean
Blake Shelton on 'God's Country': His unexpected 20-year trek to his 'biggest hit'
When Blake Shelton heard "God's Country" for the first time, he had that moment people tell him about. He was so moved, he pulled over. The singer, though, wasn't behind the steering wheel on the interstate — he was driving his skid-steer on his Oklahoma farm. The bucolic setting only amplified his connection to the music.
“It was the most shocking moment I’ve had in my 20 years of doing this,” he said. “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?’”
Shelton performed "God's Country" for the first time on the Academy of Country Music Awards in April. This week it became his 26th No. 1 hit.
Written by Hardy, Devin Dawson and Jordan Schmidt, lyrics include: We pray for rain and thank Him when it's fallin' | 'Cause it brings a grain and a little bit of money | We put it back in a plate, I guess that's why they call it | God's country.
"Who would have ever thought that almost 20 years into my career, I'd have my biggest hit yet?" Shelton said. "I really feel like 'God's Country' is that now. I was a little bit apprehensive about saying that maybe a month or two ago when it felt like it was taking off, but now it could be that. It's unbelievable to me — the power of a song."
Shelton said he can't thank the writers enough for sending it to him.
"They were just looking for somebody to sing it, and there I was waving my hand in the corner," he said. "It's pretty exciting for me. There's not that many songs that hit me like that one hit me."
"God's Country" is an even more unique find, Shelton said, because the song impacts others the same way it hits him.
"Those songs are almost impossible to find and to be written," he said. "Who knows the things that come together to make a song like that? When that happens, it's so special."
While "God's Country" is topping country radio airplay charts, Shelton is currently moving up the ranks again alongside Garth Brooks. Their duet "Dive Bar" was released in June. This week "The Voice" coach is back in Nashville working with producer Scott Hendricks to record his next album.
Before "God's Country," Shelton said he didn't know what his next career move would be given the decline of albums and the uptick in streaming. The song inspired him to get back into the recording studio.
"I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I have a couple of more songs I'm super excited about," he said.