Blake Shelton and his wife, Gwen Stefani, were featured guests on the Bobby Bones Show on Friday, February 9th.
During the interview, the pair discussed their newest collaborative track, while Shelton also fondly recalled a few cherished memories he shared with the late Toby Keith.
Blake Shelton And Gwen Stefani’s New Duet
Stefani first wrote “Purple Irises” during her exploration of new musical directions. Inspired by the couple’s shared experiences during the pandemic on their ranch, the song capture their cherished moments with family. It immediately resonated with Shelton the first time he hear it.
Despite their distinct musical styles, Blake and Gwen both felt a unique connection to the song, leading to the impromptu duet.
They teased their collaboration with a retro-style cover photo featuring Stefani lounging on a couch while Shelton plays guitar beside her. Surrounding them are paintings of purple irises, hinting at the theme of their new song.
In addition to revealing the inspiration behind the song during the interview, Shelton also recounted a touching story about the late Toby Keith.
In the wake of Toby Keith’s recent passing, Shelton reflected on their time together, highlighting their bond during Shelton’s early career as Keith’s opening act.
“Toby was kind of a tough nut to crack. But once you were in that inner circle with him, you could do no wrong almost. He was just that kind of guy. I was out on tour with him for I think a year and a half, maybe two years, and over time, we started to develop a little bit of a relationship. We’re both from Oklahoma, so that was kind of our connection that we had early on. We became buddies over time. Toby was the king of tough love.”
Although their journey together began gradually, they grew close, with Shelton regarding Keith as a mentor.
Shelton fondly remembered Keith’s sharp wit and humor, recalling a playful exchange between the two singers:
“I remember one day, I told this at a thing we honored him at last fall there at the Opry…he was just the king of country music at the time. And the CMA Awards came and went and I think he was up for, who knows, a bunch of awards, and he didn’t win any of them. Toby almost never won awards, you know. In that moment, I don’t want to say it upset him, but it would get under his skin a little bit. And I knew that I could say something to him about it and it would piss him off, you know. So the following weekend I saw him out there and I said, ‘Hey man, you know someday if I ever do get nominated for any awards, man I hope it’s against you.’ And literally without skipping a beat, he said to me, ‘You know why I brought you out here on tour with me?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he goes, ‘Because I wanted to prove to the industry that I really don’t need an opening act.’ Which was so true.”
— Bobby Bones Show (@bobbybonesshow) February 9, 2024
Despite the occasional teasing, Shelton always held Keith in high regard, seeing him as a resilient mentor admired for his toughness and success in the country music scene.
Shelton paid tribute to Toby on his social media following his passing.
“Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still never imagined this day. Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.”
Even though I knew about your battle these last few months I still never imagined this day. Anyone who knew you knows what I mean. You were the toughest man I ever met. Thank you brother for being a friend, a hero and an inspiration. There will never be another Toby Keith.
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) February 6, 2024
Listen to Keith and Shelton sing “Should’ve Been A Cowboy” together at the 2018 ACM Awards below.