CMT Hot 20 Countdown takes a look back on 10 years of incredible music with Decade, a weekly segment that features a modern country classic that made its greatest impact between 2010 and 2019. This week, Blake Shelton talks about his 2013 single, “Boys ’Round Here.” CMT Hot 20 Countdown airs at 9/8c Saturday and Sunday mornings.
CMT: What did you think the first time you heard “Boys ’Round Here”?
Shelton: The first time I heard “Boys ’Round Here,” I literally lost my mind. It was a demo and all the writers on it Craig [Wiseman] and Rhett [Akins] and Dallas [Davidson] all their voices were all over the demo because I don’t think none of them could decide who they wanted to sing it, as far as the demo.
They had so much fun writing it and that how I felt when I heard it. It was like, “Man, that song sounds like someone turned on their iPhone recorder in the middle of a party.” And that’s what they ended up with on the recording.
When we made the record I wanted it to feel like that, so that’s why I thought, “Man, I have to bring in all the firepower that I can.” At the time I remember talking to Miranda and saying, “Please, we need to get the Pistol Annies on this record.”
So they came in and sang on it and my friend RaeLynn came in and sang on it. Rhett Akins’ voice is on the record, Dallas Davidson’s voice is on the record. I wanted it to sound like, if you’re not listening to this song, you’re missing out on a party.
The “red red redneck” & “chew tobacco spit” parts — did those ring to you right off the bat?
The thing about “Boys ’Round Here” is it’s not brain surgery. No matter what you do, if it’s successful in this business, there’s gonna be haters out there. But I embrace that and I embrace the goofiness of “Boys ’Round Here.” It’s not meant to do anything other than make you smile and wanna have a beer and laugh.
That’s literally all it’s about. And it’s just goofy enough that it accomplishes that. There’s always that moment in my concerts when I do the song and the guys and the girls are into this song. The whole second verse is about the girl ’round here and they love it. They just have a blast with it.
At your concerts, that has to be one of your most popular songs, right?
I’m always reminded of how big “Boys ’Round Here” was and still is. Any time there’s an important event I get a call from John Esposito, the president of Warner Nashville, and he’s like, “Any chance you’ll do ’Boys ’Round Here’? That’s your biggest selling song, right?”
I hosted SNL a couple years ago, way after “Boys ’Round Here” came and gone, and John was calling, going, “Any chance you can do ’Boys ’Round Here’ on SNL?” and I was like, “OK, we’ll do it.” I get it. People like that song. That might be the only reason people know of me.
With your singles over the decade being consistently successful, is that one of the things you’re most proud of? You’ve had a great 10 years.
Yeah, back when I was first getting started as a recording artist and I had a hit or two, people would say, “What’s your goal? Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?” My answer was always, “I want to have a career like George Strait. Just that longevity and that consistency — of course, don’t we all?
But I can look back now the last 10 years or so of my career, and just the way the cards have fallen, I have had that consistency. Most of our singles that we’ve put out have at least got a lot of airplay on the radio. People will remember them and we’ll find that in the next 10 years. I have received a lot of love from country fans and radio and what else can you ask for?
Pictured above: Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, Blake Shelton and Craig Wiseman attend the Blake Shelton No. 1 Party for “Boys ’Round Here” and “Mine Would Be You” at Starstruck Studios on February 19, 2014 in Nashville