Blake Shelton’s ‘Austin’: Story Behind His First-Ever Hit Song

by Madison Miller
Photo by: Paul Natkin/Getty Images

Country artist Blake Shelton has been creating music since 2001. This was back when he had some long, flowing, brown hair and thoughts of getting back with exes.

Shelton’s debut-song was called “Austin.” It appeared on his self-titled album from the same year.

So what was the first thing Shelton wanted to share with his soon-to-be fans with his debut-hit?

Call Him Back, ‘Austin’

“Austin” is about a Nashville songwriter who broke up with his girlfriend. When she ended up moving to Austin, he realized the gravity of his mistake. He then changed his answering machine to say, “By the way – if this is Austin, I still love you.”

When songwriters Kristi Manna and David Kent heard the story it was only a matter of time before it would reside on the radio.

The song was No.1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five weeks. His debut album was certified Platinum. On the album, there are two other top 20 hits, “All Over Me” and “Ol’ Red.”

The song “Austin” has many ups and downs. From breaking up to both missing each other, it was difficult to decide how the story should end.

“How’s it gonna end? The thing that finally worked was the twist ending, where he calls back and thinks for a minute he’s got her answering machine – but he’s really got her! So that put a bit of a smile at the end of it,” said Kent regarding the song to Country Daily.

Blake Shelton identified with the song. He said he had gotten back together with exes, and it never really works out. But at the end of the day, the song is really about second chances.

For Shelton, he certainly isn’t alone in this feeling. One woman sent an email saying that she left her husband after 15 years after feeling like she wasn’t happy anymore. She moved away without saying where she was. Then, she heard “Austin.” She left her number on his voicemail, he called back, and the two worked to repair their broken relationship.

“Austin” helps remind people that second chances aren’t always a mistake and they don’t always make you weak.

“And by the way boy this is no machine your talkin’ to / Can’t you tell this is Austin and I still love you.”

Other Hit Songs by Blake Shelton

One of Shelton’s other hit songs from the album was “All Over Me.” This is a pretty different message than his heartwarming debut.

This song tells the story of someone who rejects the love and attention of a girl while they’re in public. He grows to regret it after she’s no longer with him.

“And now to prove that I love her / I’d crawl on my knees for the whole world to see / Now that she’s all over me.”

Similar to “Austin,” it is a song about regret in some form.

Then his other hit song from the debut album was “Ol’ Red.” Unlike the other two songs, this one stands out as a short story type format.

This song is about a man who catches his wife with another man. He ends up in jail for life after the event got violent. Then he meets a dog, Ol’ Red, who is the warden’s tracking dog. He set up a scheme to have him meet a female dog to mate with. Eventually, Ol’ Red gets distracted enough for him to escape.

“Love got me in here and love got me out.”