Hi Jim, 
I think that has to do with the instrument Blake is playing the tune on. I think it's easier to play a tune with forward motion and drive when you're flatpicking a single-line melody than when you're fingerpicking a full arrangement on a guitar. 
Have a great weekend,

it seems to me that his playing on the second version is somehow more danceable than on the first version, even without the backup.  Of course, I don't have a multi-track studio recording to experiment with, and it may be that I can't trust myself to listen to a version with backup and imagine it without backup.  Still, that's how it seems to me.  I'd like to know what anyone else thinks about it.  And as I said in an earlier message, you might want to try listening to both Blake versions with the YouTube playback speed set to 1.25.