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Published: Friday, 7/25/2008

Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert set for Monroe County Fair Monday

BY BRIAN DUGGER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Blake Shelton and Miranda
Lambert.
Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert.
EVAN AGOSTINI / AP Enlarge

Blake Shelton is a little excited about going No. 1 with his recent single "Home."

"I'm freaking out about it. I couldn't be more excited," he gushes by phone from "somewhere" in Oklahoma.

OK, maybe a lot excited.

"I found out about two hours before going on stage, so I couldn't really get drunk and celebrate like I wanted to," he says. "Now it's No. 1 for a second week, and I'm not sure my liver can take much more of this."

Rest easy, his liver is safe. After two weeks, "Home" fell from the top this week.

Shelton is one of country music's biggest characters, always quick with a joke, constantly taking jabs at himself. Monday night, Shelton's sense of humor will be on display at the Monroe County Fair. It's going to be a special concert for Shelton. He'll be performing alongside girlfriend Miranda Lambert for only the second time.

"Miranda and I have been kicking around doing a tour together. We finally decided to do it, and we're going to do it this fall, but we needed to see if it is going to work, so we booked a couple shows this summer to try it out," he says. "We spent a week in Nashville rehearsing the show, getting the lights ready. It's going to be something like people haven't seen before. I feel so good about it."

Shelton's "Home" is his first No. 1 since "Some Beach" hit the top more than three years ago, and Lambert is also enjoying a surge in her career. At this year's Academy of Country Music Awards, she unexpectedly won album of the year for "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." Her current "Gunpowder & Lead" has been her most successful single to date.

"It's her first Top-10 single, so she's on cloud nine," Shelton says. "It's hard to rip on her when she sells as many records as she does. You can't really argue with her success. I stay away from that argument because that's one she'll usually win."

Of course, Shelton is being modest about his credentials. "Home" is his fourth No. 1. His very first single, "Austin," went to No. 1 in 2001. He's also reached the top with "The Baby" and "Some Beach." As luck would have it, his latest No. 1 was almost an accident of sorts. It wasn't even on his current album, "Pure BS."

"At the end of 2007, 'The More I Drink' was the single we had out there. Even though it was a fan favorite, it wasn't doing that well at radio. We knew we had to put another single out off of 'Pure BS' or go and come with a new album. We decided to go into the studio and record some things I'd been wanting to record, and 'Home' was one of those," he says.

Executives from Warner Brothers, Shelton's label, were excited about the song's prospects as a single when they heard it, but Shelton didn't have enough material to make an entire new album. The only options to get the song to radio were to release a greatest hits album with "Home" as a new track or repackage "Pure BS" with the "Home" bonus track.

"And even I realized in order to have a greatest hits album, you need more than four hits, so we decided to repackage the album."

While the single was running its course on radio, Shelton was busy putting together his next album, which should be in stores by the first part of next year. The first single, "She Wouldn't Be Gone," was recently sent to radio stations. He'll try it out on the crowd in Monroe.

"When I hear a song, I know whether I love it or hate it right off the bat, and this is one of those that hit me real hard. It's more of a rock, mid-tempo song about regret, which I have had plenty of in my life."

Yes, he's got regrets about the past, but Shelton is flying high right now. He's got the girl he loves, the career that's booming, and his sense of humor is certainly intact.

"We're touring hard, getting all this work out of the way so we can go deer hunting in the fall."

Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert will perform at the Monroe County Fair in Monroe, Mich., on Monday at 8 p.m. Reserved tickets are $43 and $33. General admission is $23; tickets can be purchased online at www.startickets.com, by phone at 800-585-3737, or at the fair's box office.

Contact Brian Dugger at: bdugger@theblade.com.



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