Blake SheltonBlake Shelton says he was four or five songs into his show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville Thursday night before he could relax and enjoy himself. "Whenever I play a show like that, something always happens with the sound or the lights or something," he told The Boot at a reception after the event. "Finally I realized everything was okay so then I had a good time. And what about Trace Adkins coming out? That was cool."

Blake's show was not only his first at the Ryman, but was his first in Nashville since having hit records. He moved to Music City right out of high school, and lived there for 11 years. During part of that time he was a member of The Young Writers who played at Douglas Corner and the Bluebird Cafe on a regular basis. They were a group of up-and-coming singer/songwriters including Philip White, Ryan Murphey, Robin English and Kenny Horton, all of whom have gone on to achieve varying degrees of writing and recording success.

Blake has come a long way from his in-the-round performances with that group of performers. His stage set was simple yet effective, and his five-piece band was a good fit for his music and his style. They opened the show with 'Kiss My Country Ass,' a song written and recorded a couple years ago by Rhett Atkins. It was a good indication of things to come.

"One of the things I love about playing the mother church of country music is it's the only church where you can drink beer and raise hell," Blake told the full house of fans and industry VIPs, then launching into 'The More I Drink.'

A few songs later he said, "One of my all-time favorite country singers was Conway Twitty. A few years ago I was lucky enough to have a hit with one of his songs, and I'd like to do it for you now." Blake then treated the audience to 'Goodbye Time.'

The singer performed a combination of his hit songs with new ones from the just released six pack 'Hillbilly Bone,' adding a little of his well-known humor along the way.

"I guess you've noticed I've not been talking very much," he finally said. "They told me not to talk too much tonight while I was in Nashville. They wanted me to just get in and get out without getting run out of town." He paused, then asked, "You know what kind of guy I am don't you? Yeah, I'm the kind of guy who will drive through Wendy's and I don't know whether to order a No. 2 with cheese or get out and bust the guy waiting on me because he's wearing his pants almost to the floor." Another brief pause was followed by an aside to his label, "Sorry, Warner Brothers."

Blake introduced his hit 'The Baby' by saying, "If you don't have a beer you better get one, because this is the saddest song you're ever gonna hear."

The singer took a break to talk to the audience again, saying he was a little worried about performing in Nashville. "I won't lie to you ... well I will, but not about this," he said while seating himself on a stool center stage with his guitar. "I'm very nervous about playing in Nashville. I know they play my music out west but I wasn't sure you'd know it here, so I thought I'd better prepare something just in case you didn't," he said. "I thought I'd play you one of my all-time favorite songs that you could sing along to," he went on to say before breaking into the advertising jingle for The audience joined right in.

On a more serious note, he performed 'Don't Make Me,' 'Home,' 'Austin' and 'Nobody But Me' along with a song from the the new album, 'You'll Always Be Beautiful to Me' while in his acoustic mode.

Blake closed out his show with 'She Wouldn't Be Gone" and 'Some Beach,' saying goodnight to a crowd that wasn't ready for him to leave the stage. He returned a few minutes later to perform his current No. 1, 'Hillbilly Bone,' with special guest Trace Adkins. The crowd jumped to its feet when they heard Trace's deep baritone, even before he walked onstage. The two singers had a good time with the song and Trace left to a roar of approval. Blake ended the evening with 'Old Red,' and the crowd sang along to every word. He left the stage saying "Thank you so much for hanging out with us tonight," as the audience gave him a standing ovation.