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USA Insider Barmageddon

Why The City Of Nashville Has Such A Special Place In Blake Shelton's Heart

Blake Shelton's upcoming USA Network show, "Barmaggedon," will take place in Nashville, Tennessee.

By Becca van Sambeck
Blake Shelton sitting in his bar, Ole Red

When you're opening a bar, you're going to want it to be in a place that feels like home. For Blake Shelton, that meant Nashville, Tennessee. 

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But why is Nashville one of the cities nearest and dearest to Shelton's heart?

Well, for Shelton, Nashville represents the place where he got his start in the music industry. Like many other country stars before him, the Oklahoma native, then 17, moved to Nashville to make it big. (Nashville is generally regarded as the country music capital of the U.S., even earning the nickname Music City, according to "The Tennessean.")

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“I moved to Nashville after I graduated high school hoping to hear just one of my songs on country radio,” Shelton told "Billboard" of his move to the Tennessee city in the 1990s. “I don’t think there’s a word to describe how blessed or fortunate I’ve been over these years."

While living in the city, he spent seven years networking, taking odd jobs, and writing music before he got his first taste of success, according to Sounds Like Nashville. He released his self-titled debut album in 2001. His first single, which shares the same title, shot to the No.1 position on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. From there, Shelton grew into the country superstar he's known as today.

Clearly, Nashville became a home for him during that time and holds a special place in his heart. While he has continued living on and off in Nashville over the years, including when he was married to fellow country singer Miranda Lambert, these days he does not have a permanent residence in the city. Instead, he spends his time with his wife, Gwen Stefani, in Los Angeles and his home state of Oklahoma.

But that doesn't mean he no longer has roots in the iconic Southern city. After he opened a bar, restaurant, and music venue called Ole Red (named after one of his early singles) in Oklahoma, he then opened a second location in Nashville. While it was not the first Ole Red and other locations have followed, the Nashville version is now the flagship Ole Red and will act as the background for Shelton's upcoming USA Network game show "Barmaggedon," which sees celebrities compete in various bar games and will premiere later this year.

He's only continued to add to his Nashville portfolio, too: He opened an Ole Red outpost in the Nashville Airport in 2022, according to Music Mayhem Magazine.

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