Blake Shelton – Based on a True Story Album Review (Music Is Love Throwback)

Hola readers,

I hope you’re all doing well. As we’re right in the throes of summer; indulging in the warmer, longer days and ice-creams (well I am anyway!) I thought I’d share this #throwback of a review with you. This artist has been a big chunk of my summer soundtrack since I discovered him a few years ago, and his music just makes me think of sunny days and holidays.

I first discovered award-winning country singer/songwriter Blake Shelton’s music back in 2012 thanks to the US version of The Voice. I watched the show for two seasons, the first of which featured Juliet Simms (ex Automatic Loveletter) as a contestant – who went on to be one of the final two – and the second saw ex-Hey Monday front woman Cassadee Pope win the hearts of the nation and be crowned winner, under Shelton’s tutorage.

Being that Shelton was the only artist on the judging panel that I hadn’t heard of – the line up at the time being completed by Maroon 5 vocalist Adam Levine, R’n’B singer/songwriter Cee Lo Green and pop powerhouse Christina Aguilera – I was instantly curious to check out his music. And I wasn’t disappointed with what I found.

From the summer sunshine vibe of ‘Honey Bee’, and the somber, sultry feel of ‘Drink On It’, to injecting his alluring country drawl into Dave Barnes’ ‘God Gave Me You’, it’s clear that Shelton’s distinctive vocals are strong, bold and somewhat seductive. It’s no surprise that his work is revered within the country music industry – I instantly fell in love.

Another thing that immediately struck me about Shelton, is his ability to connect with the music and tell a story in an amazingly moving way. You can see this in multiple tracks of his including, romantic love stories ‘Over’ and ‘Austin’, as well as ‘Over You’; a track Shelton co-wrote with his ex-wife Miranda Lambert about the death of his brother – which she lends her vocals to. The song was also covered by ex-Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Pope during her time on NBC’s The Voice, which I’ve featured in a previous blog post.

I was going to include them in a ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ at the time, but the more songs I discovered I thought it could come across a bit artist-heavy. So, I decided to save them for a ‘One to Watch’, However, I didn’t think that was quite fitting as Shelton is an established artist in his own right as opposed to up-and-coming.

With his album ‘Based On A True Story’ on the horizon at the time, I jumped straight on ITunes and downloaded it. I then went on to review the album for a university project. At the time I didn’t see the point in duplicating posts across both sites, especially since I was trying to promote them both separately. However, I’ve since had to make the decision to close my other site (you can read about the reason for that here) so I thought uploading it here was way overdue.



Blake Shelton: Based On A True Story (Album Review)


American country artist Blake Shelton released his new album ‘Based on a True Story’ in March this year. Lead single ‘Sure Be Cool If You Did’ reached number one on the country airplay chart after being premiered on New Year’s Day, and was released on ITunes in January.

His eighth studio album is an authentic country album, complete with that trademark drawl that sounds like drizzling honey; smooth and effortless. With the playful chant ‘red red red red red red redneck’, album opener ‘Boys Round Here’ has a beat that you can’t help but bob your head to, and tracks like ‘Small Town Big Time’ are a full on ride of infectious fun; vibrant, jaunty and carefree, though the effects on Shelton’s vocals are unnecessary.

Throughout there are also moments of sentimentality, with slower romantic tracks like ‘Doin’ What She Likes’, ‘Mine Would Be You’, and the nostalgic trip down memory lane, ‘Granddaddy’s Gun’.

Shelton’s bold twang sounds like emotion oozing out of every pore and the intimacy and warmth that comes off of these songs is almost palpable. It’s a great mix of lively, dynamic songs and heartfelt stories, and is an excellent country album. If you’re not someone who’s usually a fan of country music, give it a try, you may surprise yourself.


As always, thanks for reading. Do you like Blake Shelton or are you Country music fan in general? Feel free to let me know in a comment. If you’d like to keep up to date with my upcoming posts come and join me on:

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Cass Is Badass. One To Watch: Cassadee Pope.

I wrote this a while ago as part of a university project, but as I said in my last ‘Tracks I’m Loving’ post, I’ve always been a fan of Cassadee Pope and her music. Seeing as her debut album ‘Frame By Frame’ was released on October 8th, I thought I’d share this with you. To read my thoughts on the debut single from the album, ‘Wasting All These Tears’ click HERE.

Winner of The Voice USA, the former Hey Monday frontwoman captured the hearts of a nation. Can the country pop rocker capture yours too?

“I took these country songs and made them a little more pop/rock with like more of a contemporary twist to it, and that’s what my music is… it’s just me. And the lyrics tell stories, it’s the kind of thing where you listen to a song and you feel it, because everybody goes through these things so, I just love writing songs that tell a story and I think that belongs in country so I’m going that route,” Cassadee Pope tells Pop Sugar’s Lindsay Miller of her experience on The Voice USA, and of her [then] upcoming album.

23 year old Pope was the first female to win the US show after she wowed the judges – country Star Blake Shelton, Maroon Five’s Adam Levine, pop diva Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green – with her rendition of Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn’ in her blind audition.


But, if you were into the pop-punk scene (Fall Out Boy, Paramore) when it exploded, then you may also recognise her from the band Hey Monday. A far cry from the country material she performed on the show, Hey Monday showed similarities to acts such as We Are the in Crowd and All Time Low.


The band formed in 2008 and quickly caught the interest of Fall Out Boy’s Pete Wentz who wanted to sign them to his label Decaydance records, vying with major label Columbia for the band’s attentions, resulting in a joint deal. Though Cassadee – when speaking to TV – has admitted, “when Hey Monday first started, there was this very cool hype around us and a label behind us that was excited. But then the momentum started going away.” She also told music website Alter the Press that towards the end “the label was losing hope, and we were getting overshadowed by the pop acts.” The band went on an indefinite hiatus in 2011.

After releasing a solo EP in the summer of 2012, Cassadee went on to audition for The Voice USA, and it became clear that there was no chance of her being overshadowed again.

All four judges competed for Cassadee but she ultimately chose to be coached by Blake Shelton. Under Shelton’s tutorage, Pope shed her pop/punk image and delved into country music. It was her cover of country singer, Miranda Lambert’s ‘Over You’ in Top 10 Week that turned the tides. Earning Pope praise for her amazing range and ability to connect with lyrics. The cover went to number one on the ITunes all genre chart and Pope’s other covers had her at number one on ITunes on multiple occasions.


After racking up the highest number of votes in the show’s history Pope was crowned the winner, and has since signed a deal with Republic Nashville who also represent Taylor Swift and The Band Perry. With the help of her coach Blake Shelton she hopes to incorporate country into her music, telling 92.3 Now, “I think he’s the best person to help me tastefully.” And you can definitely hear the country influence in her new single ‘Wasting All These Tears’.


Pope has described her appearance on The Voice as phenomenal, and is quick to dispel any feeling that she may have had an unfair advantage after being in a touring band. As she told Rolling Stone, “I thought it was kind of crazy to think that someone like me – who’s been working towards this my whole life…toured in bands and did all that, and really has been working hard– doesn’t deserve it as much as someone else next to me who’s never done it before. I feel like if you have the heart and the passion for it, you deserve it.” We couldn’t agree more.

Cassadee’s new album ‘Frame By Frame’ is now available for download through ITunes.