Blake Shelton’s Been Waiting for This Since He Was 16

Why "Dive Bar" Isn't Just Another Garth Song

Last summer, Blake Shelton told me how badly he wanted to be Garth Brooks. So badly, in fact, that when he was 16 and spending his summer roofing houses, one of the first things he bought with his $300 paycheck was the black Takamine guitar that Brooks had played on his first television special, This Is Garth Brooks.

So when Shelton’s manager recently gave him the news that Brooks was going to be calling him, Shelton did what any fan would do: He told the Tennessean, “I just sat around and waited.”

When Brooks did call, Shelton recalled him saying, “I’ve got this song I wrote. I wanted to see if I could send it over to you and you tell me what you think about it.”

“I said, ‘If you’re asking me to sing a duet with you,'” Shelton said, “’I’m going to tell you right now even without hearing the song; I’m apt to say, Hell yes, I’ll do it. He laughed and said, ‘You should at least hear the song.’”

And that’s how Shelton was welcomed into “Dive Bar,” the pair’s brand new duet that is climbing up the charts at record speed. But before it made it to Shelton, and the recording studio and the finishing touches, it had to start somewhere.

Mitch Rossell and Bryan Kennedy reportedly wrote pages and pages of lyrics until they finally won Brooks over with the idea. “I said, ‘Guys, if you’re going to go in the deep end of a dive bar, you have to spend the weekend in the deep end of a dive bar,’” Brooks said. And the song was born.

But Brooks was quick to give credit to Shelton for taking it to the next level in the studio, saying, “It was Blake who took it and fanned it out from, ‘Oh, it’s just another Garth song.’”

And now Brooks is admitting that the song has another bridge — a singalong lyric written just for the live show — that isn’t family friendly enough for country radio. But when his Dive Bar tour kicks off on Monday (July 15) in Chicago, I’ll be there taking notes.

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