REVIEW: Blake Shelton Pepsi Center show in DenverBy Kristopher Coe | September 29th, 2014 | No Comments »
That is exactly the image that Shelton would like to convey. After all, he does a good job of making his fans think that his brand of modern country music is soaked in the same cask of outlaw country moonshine that Lynyrd Skynyrd, Waylon Jennings, and Merle Haggard made popular decades earlier. A good portion of his songs draw on themes of drinking, carousing, shooting guns, and raising hell. Itâ€™s a clever trick for a musician who was CMA â€śEntertainer of the Yearâ€ť in 2012 and who is probably most widely-known for his irreverent role as a judge on the hit television show, â€śThe Voice.â€ť
To his credit, most of Sheltonâ€™s hits on this night did not stray far from that rebel guise. Songs like â€śThe More I Drink,â€ť â€śKiss My Country Assâ€ť and â€ś Hillbilly Boneâ€ť paid worship to Sheltonâ€™s musical heroes and rattled the roof with their ear-bleeding guitar bluster.
But if you strip away the gimmicky bronze of those tracks, it is easy to grasp that Sheltonâ€™s full catalog is more fine-tuned, soulful, and trailblazing. â€śMine Would Be Youâ€ť was more attune to a crafty Keith Urban power ballad while â€śSure Be Cool If You Didâ€ť seemed to shed the honky tonk swagger in favor of a more John Mayer emotive-pop. â€śNeon Lightâ€ť also elevated Sheltonâ€™s artistry to a new foothold with its banjo-driven riff locking horns with the roar of the infectious hook.
Shelton then segued effortlessly to solo acoustic renditions of â€śOver Youâ€ť and the duet â€śMy Eyesâ€ť (with â€śVoiceâ€ť contestant Gwen Sebastian). In full command of the crowd, both tracks showcased the witty and self-deprecating Shelton at his marketable best. Outlaw or not, he has our attention.
Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native and regular contributor to Reverb.