Blake Shelton is the perfect contemporary country artist. His rich baritone voice allows him to bounce between traditional-sounding honky tonk material, big romantic power ballads, and pure country corn with relative ease, and his singles are usually a welcome thing when they come on the radio. What he isn't, however, is an album-oriented artist, and that's clear on Startin' Fires, his fifth studio release.
Blake Shelton is nowhere near as compelling as his girlfriend, Miranda Lambert (who shows up to lend guest vocals to the cheeky ”Bare Skin Rug”), but this sensitive Nashville hunk definitely knows how to craft a sturdy country tune. On Startin’ Fires, Shelton decides to dial down the crossover aspirations apparent in his recent cover of Michael Bublé’s ”Home”; these Fires are fueled by midtempo beer-joint grooves, pretty-but-manly vocals, and lyrics about family, heartbreak, and ”workin’ like hell till the dinner bell.” Next time a little more Lambert would help heat things up. B? Dowload This: Listen to tracks from the new album on the artist’s MySpace .