Blake Shelton has added a new entry in his “Friends and Heroes” series, releasing an appropriately anxious cover of Eddie Rabbitt’s 1979 hit “Every Which Way but Loose.” It joins Shelton’s recent covers of Bobby Bare’s “Tequila Sheila” and George Jones’ “The King Is Gone.”
The Voice coach plays it straight with his version, preserving the double-tracked vocal passages and string flourishes of Rabbitt’s original as he puts himself in the shoes of a guy trying to work out some complicated feelings about a lover. Shelton brings an added urgency with his voice, fraying at the ends of certain lines as he evaluates his physical desires against the likelihood of heartbreak.
Rabbitt recorded the song, written by Milton Brown, Steve Dorff and Snuff Garrett, as the single from the Clint Eastwood film of the same name. Until Garth Brooks’ “More Than a Memory” unseated it in 2005, it held the curious honor of having been the highest debut on the Hot Country Songs chart since its 1973 inception, having made its first appearance at Number 18. It went on to spend three weeks at Number One in 1979.
Friends and Heroes shares its name with Shelton’s upcoming U.S. tour, which launches in February 2019 and includes guests John Anderson, Lauren Alaina, the Bellamy Brothers and Trace Adkins.