“Austin” tells of a lost love whose heart is softened by her ex’s devotion. Listeners learn from another man’s mistakes on “I Thought There Was Time” (“I knew something was the matter and really needed my attention/And I had planned to look into it someday, but I was busy making money/. . . Now I wish I could turn the clock back”). A good feeling returns upon visiting the run-down house “where we grew up/ Seven children raised on love” (“That’s What I Call Home”). “Problems at Home” enumerates social ills and personal trials in the context of a heartfelt prayer. On “Same Old Song,” Shelton expresses disgust for his genre’s formulaic approach to storytelling, wanting weighty songs about “a cowboy in Australia” or “a prisoner in China,” but . . .
He also wants to hear “a song about sin.” Infatuation based on a woman’s looks is confused with “love” (“She Doesn’t Know She’s Got It”). “Ol’ Red” includes a mild profanity and asks listeners to identify with a convicted murderer guilty of a crime of passion.
Fans of fiddle and pedal-steel guitar will find a lot to like about this Oklahoma native. A few burrs in the saddle, but for the most part Blake Shelton takes listeners on a worthwhile ride.