Blake Shelton Believes There's Not Enough Country Music in Las Vegas — So He's Opening an Ole Red Outpost

Blake Shelton reveals plans for his expansive Ole Red Las Vegas and heavily hints at a Las Vegas residency

blake shelton
Blake Shelton. Photo: Trae Patton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Blake Shelton is about to spend a lot more time in Las Vegas.

The popular The Voice coach just revealed plans for Ole Red Las Vegas — his most expansive Ole Red entertainment complex to date. And he doesn't rule out the possibility of a residency. In fact, he predicts it.

"I've been going to Las Vegas for 20 years now, and the one thing that I've noticed, and people talk about, is there's not enough country music venues," Shelton told PEOPLE. "There's especially nothing right down in the midst of the strip and in the center of everything."

<a href="https://people.com/tag/blake-shelton/" data-inlink="true">Blake Shelton</a> performs onstage during the 2021 iHeartCountry Festival Presented By Capital One at The Frank Erwin Center on October 30, 2021 in Austin, Texas.
Blake Shelton. Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

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Ole Red Las Vegas is a 27,000-square-foot $30 million development that includes four stories of food and entertainment and a 4,500 square foot rooftop bar with views of the Las Vegas skyline. The space will be located in front of Caesars Entertainment's Bally's Las Vegas at the Grand Bazaar Shops on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road. Ole Red Las Vegas is projected to open in 2023.

On a recent trip to Sin City to see his wife Gwen Stefani perform, Shelton took pictures out of the window of where he was staying nearby to try and visualize where his new restaurant would sit.

"I don't think that people are going to be dying to get in there just to hear some country music, especially when you come to Vegas," he admitted. Lounging on a leather couch in his dressing room at Ole Red Nashville, he continued: "You want to see all kinds of things, but at some point, I think it can be a little overwhelming and tiring. Maybe you just want to have one of your nights in Vegas to just chill out, have a drink and listen to some country music? To have it there so accessible and right there in the middle of everything, it's just going to be perfect."

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With Shelton's busy schedule, including shooting The Voice and touring to support the deluxe version of his "Body Language" that will be available Dec. Dec. 3, the newlywed doesn't have much spare time for a bar and restaurant chain. He jokes the project is important to him so he'll have someplace to play when his career fades. However, his emotional investment in the venues is much more profound.

Shelton remembers when he was an up-and-coming artist trying to make it in country music. He played in humble rooms with poor lighting, meager stages and no video screens. It took him years to build his career enough to book shows in spaces with the amenities available to young singers at Ole Red.

"I just love having this safe place for new artists to come," Shelton said. "If they were just trying to play gigs out of the back of their van or truck like we all did starting up, they could never afford the best production. If they come into Ole Red, they will be at that same level of top artists. They're going to get to sing in front of a huge screen with incredible lights and incredible sound and look like a star. That's the difference. I love that about this brand and these bars. It starts with music and then we figure out what else to do around that."

Shelton said he's interested in playing Las Vegas, too, a desire piqued when Garth Brooks did his one-man show at Wynn Las Vegas many years ago. He was "pretty jealous" of Brooks at the time but said he hasn't had time to pursue a residency for himself – until now. The Voice is transitioning from its regular two seasons a year to one. Shelton's new album Body Language – both the original and deluxe versions – is complete. And his tour is over.

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"I've always wanted to do a show like [Garth's]," Shelton admitted. "Now I probably waited too long because I don't play guitar as good as I used to. The key thing for Garth was that he could just walk out there and play a million different songs. I always meant to do something like that. It's just my career hasn't had the window of time to do it up until now. I definitely think that there's a good chance of me doing something like that."

No contracts have been signed, Shelton said, but he has received offers. Stefani recently completed her run with "Gwen Stefani – Just A Girl" at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. If he accepts a residency, he knows what she will say.

"Rest," Shelton emphatically said. Then in his self-deprecating style, he explained: "You know, the difference in what Gwen does and what I do is monumental. When I perform, I'm making George Strait look like he's running a marathon up there. I'm a going-to-stand-in-front-of-the-microphone kind of guy. Resting isn't something that I have to spend a lot of time thinking about after my shows. Normally, I just have to sit down, and then I'm good."

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