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Blake Shelton Breaks Into the Mainstream with 'Red River Blue'

Stream the country star's latest album

July 12, 2011 8:45 AM ET
Blake Shelton Red River Blue album stream

Click to listen to Blake Shelton's Red River Blue

Blake Shelton has been one of country music's biggest stars over the past decade, but since appearing on NBC's hugely popular singing competition The Voice, he's primed to break through to an even larger audience. If you're new to Shelton's music, his latest album Red River Blue is a fine starting point. The record puts an emphasis on good time country rockers, from the immediately charming Number One hit "Honey Bee" and the laid back "Ready to Roll" on through "Good Ol' Boys," a tune that laments the scarcity of Southern gentlemen in contemporary culture. Red River Blue is in stores now, but you can listen to this full album stream now. Buy the album here.

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How Blake Shelton Nearly Passed on 'The Voice'

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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