You won’t believe who country music superstar Blake Shelton just called “a grumpy old bastard” AP (both Images)

Since the two collaborated on “Hillbilly Bone” back in 2009, country music legends Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have always seemed like an interesting pair who could throw back some drinks and hang out at the bar a few nights in a row.

Yet, it turns out the relationship has always been much more than that.

“Trace Atkins was that guy for me …. unfortunately, because he’s a grumpy, old bastard,” Shelton joked during a recent interview about Adkins and the role he has taken in the career of Shelton. “But he was always that guy for me who would set me down and say, ‘Listen,’ and he would get on to me about stuff. Especially because back in the day, I was way worse than I am now. He was about the only guy I would listen to because I was intimidated by him. Looking back, I am so glad that he was around for me.”

Shelton will pay homage to Adkins and a number of others that have been with him through the years via the just-announced release of his new Warner Bros. Records/Warner Music Nashville album, “Reloaded: 20 #1 Hits,” set for release on Oct. 23.

Besides “Hillbilly Bone,” the 21-track album will include not only some of his best known collaborations of the past 15 years, including “Lonely Tonight (feat. Ashley Monroe),” “My Eyes (feat. Gwen Sebastian) and “Boys ’Round Here (feat. Pistol Annies and Friends).”

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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