God's Country

Album: Fully Loaded: God's Country (2019)
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  • "God's Country" was penned by country artists Devin Dawson and Hardy along with Nashville songwriter Jordan Schmidt. It finds Blake Shelton paying tribute to the spiritual nature of rural America and good old-fashioned country values:

    I saw the light in a sunrise
    Gettin' baptized in holy water and 'shine with the dogs runnin'
    The Devil went down to Georgia, but he didn't stick around
    This is God's country

    Shelton explained that he was drawn to the song because it reminds him of his home state of Oklahoma, but could also be open to each listener's individual experience:

    "'God's Country' is a song that has a strong and deep meaningful lyric, but at the same time it leaves it up to the listeners interpretation," he said in a press release. "But no matter where you are from or where you're standing it is my belief that you're standing in God's Country. It's really about a state of mind. Wherever you're from and how you feel about that place. For me it's about being from Oklahoma - where I was born, raised and still live today."
  • Devin Dawson cut his teeth in a heavy metal band, while Hardy grew up listening to hard rock. Speaking to SiriusXM's Storme Warren about the track, Dawson explained that the song's mix of rock and country comes from its songwriters' diverse musical backgrounds.

    "Hardy and I both come from a metal background and it's pretty heavy, but it still has the lyric that I need to chew on," he said. "It has heart. It really fits his voice so well."
  • Devin Dawson also contributed vocals to the track. He sings the harmony on the hook and the really high, "Yeah" part right before the second and third chorus. Dawson told ABC Radio:

    "That's me reaching back into my metal days, because that's about the highest I possibly can sing."
  • Hardy, Devin Dawson and Jordan Schmidt wrote the song on January 7, 2019 and Schmidt did the demo the same day. As an aspiring artist, Hardy thought about recording the song under his own name. He explained to The Boot that he told Dawson and Schmidt: "This sounds like something I would do. Let's see if we can get someone to bite on it first. If we go through a round of pitches and nobody likes it, I want it for myself."

    So, Hardy's publisher sent the demo to Blake Shelton's producer Scott Hendricks a couple of days later. He immediately passed it onto Shelton who then cut the song within a week of the threesome writing it.
  • When Blake Shelton first heard "God's Country" he was preparing to plant alfalfa on his hometown Oklahoma ranch. "I was shocked," he recalled to ABC News. "I had to stop and just listen to this song, because the song was talking to me about a place that I was in at that moment, which was a place in the middle of nowhere that meant something to me that probably nobody else could ever understand: what that is and what it is inside of me and what my connection is to the land."
  • The English music video director Sophie Muller directed the video for "God's Country." She also directed the video for Shelton's collaboration with Gwen Stefani, "You Make It Feel Like Christmas."
  • The song was Blake Shelton's 14th Country #1 and his first since "Sure Be Cool If You Did" topped the chart for five weeks in March and April 2013.
  • As referenced in the lyric, "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" is the title of a classic country song by Charlie Daniels. In that song, the Devil challenges a man to a fiddle contest. The man wins and sends the Devil packing.
  • This won Song of the Year at the 2019 CMA Awards. Shelton performed it at the ceremony with a backing band featuring Jenee Fleenor. The fiddle player had just become the first woman ever to win a CMA Award in the Musician of the Year category and she got the opportunity to highlight her talent with a sizzling solo.
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