5 Blake Shelton Songs You Didn’t Know Were Covers

Blake Shelton’s career has been soaring on an upward trajectory pretty much since he made the transition from small-town Oklahoma to Nashville. Shelton has proven he can both write his own material and pick out the best songwriting products from Nashville’s fathoms-deep pool of writers. He hasn’t always seemed too anxious to go to the cover songs well, but there were a couple of occasions early in his career when he did just that in effective fashion. His association with The Voice has also allowed him the opportunity to churn out some occasional covers. Here are some cover songs of Shelton’s that fit his style like a glove, so much so that you might think he did them first.

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1. I Drink” (originally performed by Mary Gauthier)

Gauthier is one of the most revered singer-songwriters within the Americana/folk genre, and “I Drink” is one of her most well-known tracks. Shelton showed excellent taste in including the song as the closing track on his 2004 album Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill. And it so fits into his wheelhouse that you might assume that either he wrote it or that it was made to order by some of his frequent songwriting collaborators.

Even though she changed the gender of the character, Gauthier based the song on her own struggles with addiction. Let’s give credit to Shelton for selling such delicate subject matter just right, with nice backing vocals by Rachel Proctor helping out.

2. “Home” (originally performed by Michael Bublé)

Shelton scored a No. 1 country hit with “Home” when he released it in 2008, and when a song is that big of a hit, it’s easy for people to identify it with the particular artist who scored the biggest with it. In actuality, the song had already received pretty good exposure as a breakthrough song of sorts for Michael Bublé, the Canadian performer known for his silky vocals.

Bublé had the idea for “Home” while missing his significant other during a European tour. In recent years, Shelton and Bublé have many times come together to perform a duet version of the song, often in a holiday setting. It makes sense, since the sentiments of wanting to be close to family and loved ones really rise to the fore on those occasions.

3. “Steve McQueen” (originally performed by Sheryl Crow)

Crow has churned out some monster hits in her impressive career. Oddly enough, “Steve McQueen” didn’t do much on the charts, even as it seemed tailor-made as a winner at rock and pop radio. (It weirdly enough had more legs as a dance hit.) That’s why those who heard Shelton’s version, taken from a live performance on The Voice with Cassadee Pope, might have assumed it was one from Blake’s back catalog.

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In any case, the pair does a great job countrifying the track just a tad, and perhaps forcing folks from the younger generation to go Google McQueen, the legendary ‘60s and ‘70s actor known for his effortless cool. Both Crow’s original and the cover by Shelton and Pope do an excellent job conveying the aural equivalent of that cool.

4. “Rhinestone Cowboy” (originally performed by Larry Weiss)

In this case, we’re guessing that the people who believe that this one was first performed by Shelton, and then trotted out on The Voice as a duet with Barrett Baber, are probably not quite old enough to remember the version of the song by Glen Campbell that was a No. 1 hit on both the pop and country charts in 1975.

Maybe that’s fitting, because at the time, Campbell was also assumed to have either written the song or have had it written for him, when, in actuality, it was penned and performed first by Larry Weiss in 1974. Great songs tend to have that kind of staying power. Shelton and Baber had a blast on their version, capturing the essence of a cowboy type torn between bucolic roots and the bright lights of the big city.

5. “Treat Her Right” (originally performed by Roy Head and the Traits)

Anybody remember Roy Head and the Traits? They were the original artists who turned this song, which is like an entire rock and soul revue rolled into a single tune, into a No. 2 hit in 1965. (In a bit of wild trivia, the song was kept out of the top spot by none other than “Yesterday” by The Beatles.)

In any case, it proved to be just the right kind of workout for Shelton to take on with The Voice contestant Sundance Head in 2016. As a matter of fact, it proved to be one of the more successful songs from the show on the country charts, reaching No. 24 upon its release. Perhaps the song’s advice about how to treat a lady, and its relentless rhythm, keeps it timely and fresh.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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