The album debuted on the Billboard 200 at number one with 116,000 sold in the US in its debut week. It is Blake Shelton's highest charting album and his first album to reach number one on this chart. As of August 2014, the album has sold 1,134,000 copies in the US.
Red River Blue received mostly positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 62, based on 9 reviews.
The positive reviews came in from About.com, American SongwriterEntertainment Weekly, Nashville Country Club, Roughstock, Taste of Country, Urban Country News and the USA Today. Critic Scott Sexton of About.com rated the album a four out of five stars, and called this effort "Blake Shelton being at the top of his game". Critic Allen Morrison of American Songwriter rated the album a three and a half out of five stars, and evoked how "Red River Blue should do nothing to slow his momentum." Critic Melissa Maerz of Entertainment Weekly graded the album a B, and exclaimed "Aww!" Emily Wetta music critic for Nashville Country Club wrote that "While most of the songs have a word or phrase that is continually repeated, it still won’t stop you from listening to the album on repeat. With heart warming love songs and the occasional feel good song, Red River Blue has great balance. Full of honest and raw emotion, Blake wins the hearts of all women and with songs like 'Get Some' wins the male audience." Roughstock critic Matt Bjorke rated the album a four out of five stars, and called the album "...a collection of songs that may be the most satisfying album of Blake Shelton’s career." Music-critic Billy Dukes of Taste of Country rated the album as being perfect, and said "‘Red River Blue’ is Shelton hitting a homerun [sic] in a clutch situation as the eyes of the country music world are bearing down on him." Liv Carter music critic for Urban Christian News wrote "Red River Blue shows Shelton has reached the point in his career where he does exactly what he wants. Well put-together, greatly executed and (mostly) well-written...Red River Blue is a confident, contemporary country album which will cement Blake Shelton’s country superstar status." Music critic Brian Mansfield from USA Today wrote that "Longtime fans can hear Red River Blue's roguishly charming performances and feel confident that the Country Music Association's male vocalist of the year will find his biggest success."
However, the album had some mixed reviews come in from AllMusic, The A.V. Club, PopMatters, Rolling Stone and Slant Magazine. Critic Thom Jurek of AllMusic rated the album a three out of five stars, and called the album "uncharacteristically tender."The A.V. Club critic Steven Hyden gave the album a C grade, and commented that "He's in the creamy, mushy middle, which is exactly where he aims on Red River Blue." Critic Dave Heaton of PopMatters gave the album a five out of ten stars, and noted that "Red River Blue's songs generally feel both cynical and overly familiar".Rolling Stone music critic Will Hermes rated the album a two and a half out of five stars, and wrote that "Red River Blue is unlikely to offend anyone...[and it] shows similarly versatile market savvy." Likewise, critic Jonathan Keefe of Slant Magazine gave it the same rating, and criticized the album because it "...proves that he's a capable singer who chooses to sing some lackluster songs."