The Doobie Brothers Call Blake Shelton “Down Home”

Rock Musicians Talk About Working With Country Stars

I don’t know what Blake Shelton thought about recording the Doobie Brothers’ “Listen to the Music,” but I know what the band thought about recording with Shelton: “Pretty fantastic.”

That’s what the guys in the band told me when I was in Nashville on the very day they were releasing Southbound, an album full of classic Doobies hits remade with some help from Nashville’s biggest stars.

The album pairs the band with more than a dozen country artists. And this is what they said about some of their favorites:

“I flew out to L.A. to do this one,” Tom Johnston said of recording the song with Shelton. “And he’s really a fun guy to be around. He’s downhome. He’s so funny. He walked in and said, ‘I didn’t know you were gonna be here.’ But when that recording light went on, he was all business. He really wanted to get it right, and that was so heartwarming.”

So it sounds like Shelton’s a pro. And what about the Zac Brown Band?

Patrick Simmons said the Doobie Brothers and the Zac Brown Band are “kindred spirits,” noting they all bonded when they sat in with Brown at his Fenway Park show last summer.

“They’re just like we are in terms of doing different kinds of music and the way they work together,” Simmons said.

And it sounds like they loved working with Brad Paisley on “Rockin’ Down the Highway” just as much.

Simmons said they met Paisley earlier in the year and that he had heard that this hits album was in the works.

“He asked us if there was something he could do on this project. We told him we had to think about it,” Simmons laughed.