Where did all the good ole boys go? Blake Shelton asks that question on Red River Blue, but maybe he should answer it himself. Over the past year, the rebel-flag-flyin’, moonshine-spittin’, yee-haw-shoutin’ Okie from 2010’s Hillbilly Bone and All About Tonight has settled down, with a steady job judging NBC’s The Voice and a marriage to fellow crooner Miranda Lambert. Newly nesting and fresh from his pop-crossover hit ”Honey Bee,” he’s lost some rascal magnetism, but he’s winning sweetness points, harmonizing with the missus on the title track, offering to make dip for her ”tater chips,” and insisting, ”Let other fools go paint the town / We’ll just hold this sofa down.” Spoken like a true domestic outlaw.
Shelton’s a natural-born husband — part lover, part joker — and producer Scott Hendricks plays up his traditional side well on the hard-twanging anthems ”Good Ole Boys” and ”Hey.” At times, Shelton’s so charming, he could sing his way down a To Do list — and he kinda does on ”Get Some” (where he gets up, gets paid, gets off, etc.) and ”Drink On It” (where he drinks on it, thinks on it, sleeps on it). Schmaltzy power ballads don’t suit him, and there’s too many here (”Over,” ”I’m Sorry,” ”God Gave Me You”), but mix some goofball into his cornball and he’s golden. ”I’ll hold your purse for ya,” he teases on ”Good Ole Boys,” ”I’ll even go pick up some feminine products for ya.” We know what the good ole girls are thinking: Ugh. But also: Aww! B
Hear Blake Shelton’s Red River Blue streaming at blakeshelton.com until its July 12 release date.