Blake Shelton fights a daily battle to keep classic country music alive Getty Images/Kevin Winter
Getty Images/Kevin Winter

Blake Shelton is arguably doing more to keep classic country alive than any of his fellow country stars. The man has an audience of nearly 13 million fans tuning in to see him as a coach on NBC’s “The Voice” every week. It’s a responsibility Blake takes seriously, as he mentors his contestants and works to get them to sing songs from country’s rich history.

That hasn’t always been an easy task.

It’s not that Blake’s team members aren’t willing to learn the songs. The producers of the show just needed convincing that people out there still want to hear songs made famous by the likes of Johnny Cash, Pam Tillis and The Judds on a mainstream TV show. Their resistance to those classic country songs caught Blake by surprise.

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He tells “The Tennessean,” “I was saying, ‘I hate to tell ya this, but there’s a big piece of ground between Los Angeles and New York City, full of people that know these songs.’ It was songs I would never have thought would have been so much of a challenge to get on prime-time television.”

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Soon enough, Blake’s team members started seeing their versions of songs by Country Music Hall of Fame members George Jones and Tom T. Hall hit the top of the iTunes Country Songs chart. Suddenly, a younger generation became introduced to those classic country songs through these new versions.

Blake explains, “That was so exciting to me, that I did introduce a large portion of their viewing audience to some country music that they didn’t know about.”

Look for Blake’s team members to sing songs from Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts and former “The Voice” contestant RaeLynn this season.

Hunter Kelly is a senior correspondent for Rare Country. Follow him on Twitter @Hunterkelly.
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