Blake Shelton, songwriters bless ‘God’s Country’ – By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Blake Shelton, songwriters bless
‘God’s Country’

No. 1 party celebrates ‘fastest
rising’ chart topper

By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

Blake was in God’s Country on
Wednesday, thanks to songwriters Devin Dawson, Michael Hardy and
Jordan Schmidt. More precisely, he was at a Number One party that
was held at Ole Red in Nashville, which of course is in God’s

At the media meeting before the awards
presentation ceremony, Shelton said he was on a tractor, working on
his farm in Oklahoma when he received the demo of the song, “God’s
Country,” on his phone. He recalled, “I was trying to drive and
look at my phone at the same time and I figured out a way to play the
song inside this machine through the Bluetooth that it had. And
that’s when I heard “God’s Country” for the first time.”

Turning to the three songwriters, he
added, “I was literally working in the spot where, in the video,
where we burned the tractor.” He said that he immediately called
producer Scott Hendricks who had sent him the demo and said, “I
don’t know where the song came from, but that makes me want to make
another record.”

“God’s Country” had one of the
fastest journeys ever to the top of the Country singles chart. The
speed with which Shelton recorded the song so soon after hearing it
and its rapid success took the song’s writers by surprise. “It
was a very fast ‘farm-to-table’,” noted Hardy. The song was
written on a Thursday, Blake heard it that weekend and by Monday he
had recorded it. It was also the fasted song to achieve Platinum
status from the RIAA in more than a year. So far in 2019, it holds
the distinction of being the ‘most streamed country song.’

Another first: although all three are
experienced writers, “God’s Country” was the first song that
Dawson, Hardy and Schmidt had written together. I’m sure it won’t
be the last.

Speaking of Scott Hendricks’ work in
producing the song, Hardy said, “Scott put his ‘magic sauce’ on
it that he’s known the best for. He elevated it to what it became,
and we’re thankful.”

I posed a question to Michael Hardy and
Devin Dawson who are both recording artists in their own right. I
asked them if they approach writing songs that will be pitched to
other artists differently to the way they write songs for themselves.

“Sometimes I’ll try to steer it
towards me if I think it’s something I would say,” said Dawson.
“But I just ‘go for the room.’ Like, what’s the inspiration?
For me, I’d rather have fun writing a good song rather than say
‘no’ fifteen times to force it for me.”

Hardy nodded in agreement. “I think
we’re both songwriters at heart,” he said. “Every day,
whatever idea, whatever the vibe is in the room; if that’s the
creative ball that’s rolling, that’s what I’m gonna go with.
At the end of the day, if that [song] ends up being for me, great.
But if it doesn’t, I’m still a songwriter and I’m still going
to be proud of a good song. I just want to write the best song every

I saw the light in the sunrise

Sittin’ back in the 40 on the
muddy riverside

Getting’ baptized in holy water
and shine.”

from the lyrics of “God’s Country

Interestingly, there have been a number
of Country hits recently with faith-based themes, in addition to
Shelton’s “God’s Country.” Some of those songs include “God
and Country Music” from George Strait, Thomas Rhett’s “Look
What God Gave Her” and “I Prayed For You” by Matt Stell. Little
Big Town’s song, “The Daughters,” includes the line: “I’ve
heard of God the Son and God the Father, I’m still looking for a
God for the daughters.” In “Love Wins,” Carrie Underwood sings
“Sometimes it takes a lot of faith to keep believing…” (One of
Underwood’s early hits was “Jesus Take the Wheel.”)

There are currently three Ole Red
restaurants owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties in partnership with
Blake Shelton on the theme of his 2002 recording of the song, “Ol’
Red.” The song had previously been recorded by both George Jones
and Kenny Rogers.

# # #

Group Photo:

Back Row (L-R): BMI’s Josh Tomlinson,
ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn, Kobalt’s
Jesse Willoughby, Scott Hendricks, Warner Music Nashville’s John
Esposito, We-Volve’s Dane Schmidt, Tree Vibez Music’s Leslie
DiPiero and Brian Kelley. Front Row, Seated, (L-R): BMI songwriter
Devin Dawson, BMI songwriter Michael Hardy, Blake Shelton, ASCAP
songwriter Jordan Schmidt (Photo: Jason Kempin / Getty for BMI)

On stage photo:

(L – R): Devin Dawson, Michael Hardy,
Jordan Schmidt, Blake Shelton. (Photo: Preshias Harris)

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