It starts with the symphony of summer: crickets chirping.
But that is only Reason No. 1 why the brand new duet from Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins, “Hell Right,” is going to get us through the rest of the summer. Reason No. 2 is what comes after the cricket intro.
The lyrics tell a few stories about how, according to the song, you ain’t done nothing if you did it halfway, if you’re gonna raise hell then you better damn raise hell right.
In one of the stories, a couple boys clock out of work, head to the liquor store, consider buying a fifth of something, but end up buying the whole damn handle. (If you haven’t brushed up on your liquor vocabulary lately, a fifth is a measly 25.4 ounces while a handle has 59.2 ounces of the good stuff.)
In another verse, some girls in cowboy boots turn off “Old Town Road” and turn on a little Hank Jr.
And then the chorus gives you some pretty definitive instructions on how to raise hell right:
Everybody’s throwin’ down on a Friday night
Somewhere in America
There’s a bottle to burn and a fire to a light
You ain’t done nothing if you did it halfway
If you’re gonna raise hell then you better damn raise hell right
Shelton and Adkins have a lot of mutual respect for one another, going all the way back to the late 1990s, when they were both on the verge of releasing a string of No. 1 hits. For Adkins, his first chart-topper was in 1997 with “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing.” And for Shelton, his first was in 2001 with “Austin.”
But Shelton didn’t just want Adkins on the song because that’s what friends are for. He was after something only Adkins has.
“I decided it would be great to have Trace Adkins on this record, just because he’s got that low, deep, big voice. And he’s so great at the ad-lib stuff, and he just brings a certain quality to any recording that nobody else can touch,” Shelton said.
“I mean, the guy’s got so much personality in his voice, and I still think that he’s one of the most underrated country artists out there. So I called him and asked if he would be on the record with me, and he said something that was close to ’Hell right,’ but it was a different cuss word.”
“Hell Right” came to Shelton via his record-label boss and producer Scott Hendricks, even though they’d decided that they weren’t going to record any more songs. “I wasn’t even thinking about it, but he said that Hardy had written a song and he wanted me to hear it. And just knowing how talented (Hardy) is, I thought, ’Man. I better at least listen to it.’
“About 3/4 of the way through the song, I decided, ’Oh my God. I’m not done recording. I’ve got to go cut this song.’ It’s awesome to be able to react to great songs,” he said, “and just get them out there to the fans.”
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) August 15, 2019