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Blake Shelton

Fully Loaded: God's Country – 2019 (Warner Nashville)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton has been openly critical of the traditional album format. "Fully Loaded: God's Country" is his fourth greatest hits album and third in the "Loaded" series. In an effort to release music more often, he packages five new songs with seven of previously released material that has received considerable airplay and time on the charts.

if you're looking for the fresh stuff, this is essentially an EP spearheaded by the Platinum lead single "God's Country." The duets "Hell Right" with Trace Adkins and "Nobody But You" with Gwen Stefani are polar opposites. The former is about good old boys and features Adkins' deep baritone. The latter is a radio-friendly pop ballad that feels like a love letter between the famous couple. Ironically, neither has a writing credit on a very personal song. That was left to heavy hitters Nashville heavy-hitters Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne and Tommy Lee James. "Tequila Sheila" feels gratuitous with its Jimmy Buffet beach anthem vibe "Every Time I Hear That Song" is an airy, standard fare love ballad. "Jesus Got A Tight Grip" is a welcome rocker. Shelton's twang always makes his songs sound country, but the production is slick, and there is little in terms of traditional instrumentation.

If already a fan, you may want to just download the five new tracks and treat it as an EP since you may already have the other seven in your collection, For newbies, Shelton has a pretty solid catalog, and there is a plentiful recent sampling here.