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Blake Shelton: If I'm Honest

Track List

>Straight Outta Cold Beer
>She's Got a Way With Words
>Bet You Still Think About Me
>Every Time I Hear That Song
>Came Here to Forget
>Every Goodbye
>It Ain't Easy
>Guy with a Girl, A
>Go Ahead and Break My Heart - (featuring Gwen Stefani)
>Friends [From The Angry Birds Movie]
>One Night Girl
>Doing It to Country Songs - (featuring The Oak Ridge Boys)
>You Can't Make This Up
>Savior's Shadow

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Shelton's warmly confident delivery makes those romantic twists and turns sound both lived in but universal, and the reverent finale, 'Savior's Shadow,' suggests that the good ol' boy's maturing into a man..."

Album Notes

Personnel: Paul DiGiovanni (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, programming, background vocals); Derek Wells, Ilya Toshinskiy, Bryan Sutton (acoustic guitar); Tom Bukavoc, Troy Lancaster (electric guitar); Aubrey Haynie (mandolin, fiddle); Charles Dixon, Jessica Blackwell (violin); Hari Bernstein (viola); Emily Nelson (cello); Jom Horn (saxophone); Steve Herrmann (trumpet); Roy Agee (trombone); Gordon Mote (piano, Hammond b-3 organ, keyboards); Charlie Judge (synthesizer); Nir "Z" Zidkyahu (drums, percussion, programming); Wes Hightower, Perry Coleman (background vocals).

Audio Mixer: Justin Niebank.

Recording information: Hollywood Back Porch Studio; Ocean Way Studios; Riverview Back Porch Studio; Sound Stage Studios; Warner Bros. Studio.

Photographers: Trey Fanjoy; Jack Guy; Robert Witt.

Blake Shelton veered toward the somnolent on the quite pleasing Bringing Back the Sunshine so it's not entirely surprising its 2016 sequel, If I'm Honest, is a bit crisper and livelier. Some of this brightening in attitude may be due to him lightening his load following a much-publicized 2015 divorce from singer Miranda Lambert -- certainly the title suggests it's time for the singer to get down to what's real -- but the electronic sheen and good times also feel like a reaction to Shelton sliding too deeply into softness. If If I'm Honest is indeed a divorce album, it's a Back in the High Life, not a Blood on the Tracks: Shelton is seizing the day, embracing his new lease on life with renewed vigor and a new love, who just happens to stop by to sing "Go Ahead and Break My Heart." Gwen Stefani's presence offers a reminder that Shelton stars on the televised singing competition The Voice, and If I'm Honest is targeted more at the mainstream audience attracted by the show than country radio proper. That's evident not only on "Go Ahead and Break My Heart," which is an adult contemporary hit by any other name, but also a song featured in The Angry Birds Movie ("Friends," a pop tune graced by banjo), a preponderance of glimmering ballads, and smirking good-old-boy humor. Shelton usually has enough swagger to let these jokes land with a crooked smile, evidenced by the heavy-handed wordplay of "She's Got a Way with Words" and the not necessarily pro-environment puns of "Green." Shelton remains appealing when he raises a little hell but like Bringing Back the Sunshine before it, If I'm Honest is at its core a balladeer's record, and Shelton pulls off these romance tunes with a sly, masculine grace that complements the album's sleek modern surfaces. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine


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