It’s no secret that Shelton is one of the most successful country artists of the last two decades, scoring 14 #1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs Chart. Lying between those 14 #1s and countless top 10 hits are some highly underrated and unknown deep cuts throughout his 20+ year career. Here are five of the best.
Appearing on Shelton’s 2010 EP, Hillbilly Bone, Delilah might be the most obscure song on the list. However, it might be one of his best tracks period. The song, written independently by Shelton himself, is an interesting take on being in the friend zone. In the incredibly melodic chorus, he begs Delilah to “reach out for the one beside ya,” and take his hand. The heavy inclusion of steel guitar on this infectious track is simply the icing on the cake of this hidden gem.
I’m Sorry recently appeared in an extensive Chris Stapelton co-write list, and it rightfully makes this list too. The track is simply a stunner, showcasing Shelton’s world-class vocals off beautifully. Stapelton’s jaded, brooding lyrics pair extremely well with Shelton’s vocal performance, resulting in one of the best tracks on the Grammy-nominated album, Red River Blue.
Draggin’ the River (feat. Miranda Lambert)
Draggin’ the River was the second collaboration between the former country power couple. The track is also another Chris Stapleton co-write for Shelton. The song is an absolutely hilarious one, full of fun banter between Shelton and Lambert throughout. Draggin’ the River takes the classic trope of a couple battling a disapproving father; however, Stapleton’s lyrics and the duo’s delivery make this song a blast to listen to. It’s quite surprising that the song never was released as a single near the peak of the duo’s popularity in 2010.
Sunny In Seattle
Sunny In Seattle is another track off of Shelton’s criminally underrated 2011 album, Red River Blue. Ironically, it comes directly after the aforementioned I’m Sorry. The song is an absolute delight to listen to with some gorgeous steel guitar throughout. Unsurprisingly, it is yet another Stapleton co-write for Shelton. Sunny In Seattle takes classic stereotypes from states across the U.S. and compares Shelton’s love to them with the latter half of the first chorus ending with “When Memphis ain’t got the blues, that’s when I’ll stop loving you. When it’s sunny in Seattle, and it’s snowing down in New Orleans.”
Before Jason Aldean popularized the song on his debut album, Shelton recorded Asphalt Cowboy on his sophomore album, The Dreamer. Though you truly can’t go wrong with either version of the song, Shelton’s version may edge out Aldean’s due to his vocal performance. In Shelton’s, there’s a certain sense of longing and loneliness in his smoother vocal delivery. The crying steel guitar throughout the track pairs incredibly well with Shelton’s longing vocals.