The “I’ll Name the Dogs” singer opens up to ET about his “happy” new album, Texoma Shore, and how he managed to catch his entire team by surprise with its quick turnaround.
“I had no plans of putting out an album this year at all,” says Shelton, whose last full length was released in May of 2016. “I planned on still being in the middle of releasing music off If I’m Honest, and that was the plan. That was the label’s plan and the manager’s plan, and I called one day and said, ‘Hey guys, when this current single runs its course, screw it. Let’s come out with a new album.'"
Shelton admits that it’s a far cry from his usual process, which often requires a nudge from his team to get back to work in the studio.
“Usually I get the call going, ‘Hey, think maybe you could get in the studio?’” he says. “So I caught everybody off guard, which is another indicator of how excited I am about this one.”
Shelton spoke to ET in his hometown of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, where he was celebrating the grand opening of his new bar and restaurant, Ole Red. Named for his 2002 hit, the venture was a collaborative effort between Shelton and Ryman Hospitality Properties. Next year, they’ll open a second Ole Red location in Nashville, Tennessee.
Fans flocked to the small town for a free performance on Main Street last week, featuring a set from Shelton himself and a special guest appearance from girlfriend Gwen Stefani. Together, the pair performed their If I’m Honest hit, “Go Ahead and Break My Heart.” According to Stefani’s social media updates, her kids were also on-hand backstage for the weekend-long festivities.
While Shelton seemed to hint at details of the couple’s relationship on his last album, the 41-year-old says he’s not spilling quite so much tea this time around.
“I don’t think this one’s as personal,” he says. “There’s a song or two on there that are directly personal, but, you know, for the most part I just made an album that feels how I feel now – that’s just happy and go with the flow. That’s kinda how the album feels when you listen to it. There might be one or two songs that kind of feel like, you know, I lost my dog and my wife, but it’s really just more about an overall feel.”
But could there be another duet between the pair on his album? Signs point to no.
Asked whether he could tease any duets on Texoma Shore, Shelton coyly pondered before answering “No.” Asked whether there are duets on the album that he can’t tease yet, Shelton answered with an equally coy “No.”
Shelton packed in more than 10,000 fans for Saturday night’s block party, but on Friday he hit the smaller stage inside Ole Red for an intimate performance benefiting local non-profit, J.C. Reaching Out, raising $32,000 for the organization. Looking ahead, Shelton is excited to have a bar and live music venue to frequent in his hometown for years to come.
“I did feel like there was a need for something like that in this community,” he explains. “Not just a restaurant, but maybe a tourist-type attraction because it had gotten pretty tumbleweed-y around here – and I don’t think anybody would argue that. Now all of the sudden, it’s healthy again. You see people everywhere, there’s cars parked, there’s a bar in Tishomingo! I mean, there’s a bar! You can get a bloody Mary over here!”