Although born in New Zealand and raised in nearby Australia, Keith Urban made his biggest splash in Nashville, where he helped rewrite the rules of contemporary county songs. By embracing drum loops and elements of Top 40 pop, Urban wrote music that appealed to a wide audience, effectively satisfying his Nashville fans without alienating those more accustomed to pop songs. He also became a genuine celebrity, known for his good looks, marriage to Nicole Kidman, and outspoken battle with alcoholism. Even so, it was the music that maintained Urban’s career, from his work with the Ranch at a time of the late ’90s to the acclaimed solo units that followed.
Keith Urban began learning guitar as a six year-old. His father, the owner of a local convenience store, agreed to hang a guitar teacher’s flyer in his shop window in exchange for free lessons. The lessons went to his son, who demonstrated natural talent on the instrument and won several talent competitions at a time of still in elementary school. Urban grew comfortable on-stage, and he worked on his singing and acting abilities as a member of the Westfield Super Juniors, a local theater company. Meanwhile, he took a cue from his father (who had a deep interested in American culture and country material) by gravitating toward the work of Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Don Williams, and Jimmy Webb, all of whom inspired his early attempts at songwriting. Urban added his own dimension to those influences when he discovered Dire Straits and became interested in the fretwork of Mark Knopfler, which led to in-depth study of Knopfler’s tone and technique.
Australian country material was primed for a revolution at the start of the ’90s, and Keith Urban — young, brash, and blonde, with a guitar style that owed heavily to rock & roll — was part of that transformation. After signing with the Australian branch of EMI Records, he released his first album and charted multiple number one smashes in his home country. Even so, Urban’s sights remained set on Nashville, TN, which he considered to be the birthplace of the material he loved. Having made periodical pilgrimages to Nashville to forge valuable career bridges, he soon decided to base himself in the city. With his Australian bandmate, drummer Peter Clarke, he formed a three-piece band named the Ranch. Their original bass player soon returned to Australia, but West Virginian Jerry Flowers rapidly stepped in.
The Ranch’s music was raw and rowdy, more indicative of Australian pub rock than Nashville country. Even so, the ensemble eventually netted a album deal with Capitol Nashville and a management contract with Miles Copeland, who had previously managed the Police. The group’s debut album, The Ranch, was put forth to moderate acclaim in 1997, but Urban was forced to take a break when he developed throat problems, and the Ranch disbanded soon after. during Urban remained on vocal rest, other performers called upon him to add some of his fleet-fingered magic to their records. Garth Brooks asked Urban to perform on Double Live, the Dixie Chicks invited him to play on their second record (which featured a reworked version of “Some Days You Gotta Dance,” a song that had previously appeared on the Ranch’s debut), and Matt Rollings — one of Nashville’s top producers — hired Urban as a session player for his latest record. The two immediately clicked.
Impressed with Rollings’ knowledge of Nashville’s session players, Urban asked him to produce his next solo album. gave us in 1999, the self-titled Keith Urban spawned four hit singles and helped paved the way for his successful solo career in America. A tour in support of that record saw Keith Urban opening for such major acts as Dwight Yoakam, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, as well as as the main billing act on his own shows. Urban found increased success with 2002’s Golden Road, which sent three singles to the top of the country charts and went triple platinum in the U.S., as well as 2004’s Be Here, which bested the feats of its predecessor by selling over four million units. Keith Urban was now a contemporary country superstar, replete with Grammy nominations and paparazzi attention, and his label capitalized on that attention by reissuing the Ranch’s debut album later that year. An anthology of Urban’s work, Days Go By, came in 2005.
The next year, Urban continued to attract media focus with his highly publicized engagement (and June marriage) to fellow Australian Nicole Kidman, plus his voluntary entry into a rehabilitation center for alcohol addiction. He temporarily postponed all his upcoming promotional appearances, although the record Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was put forth that November as scheduled. It failed to produce a number one hit (the first of Urban’s solo units to do so), but Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing nevertheless went double platinum in America, aided in part by a popular tour with Carrie Underwood. Urban returned to the top of the charts in 2008 with a re-recorded version of “You Look Good in My Shirt,” which had originally appeared on 2002’s Golden Road. The new version appeared on his latest compilation record, Greatest Hits: 18 Kids, and its success helped pave the way for Urban’s next solo album. put forth in 2009, Defying Gravity found the artist ruminating on life with Nicole Kidman while chart-topping tracks like “Sweet Thing” and “Kiss a Girl.”
Nashville’s BIGGEST festival is coming back THIS June 5th-8th and it looks like it’s going to be one heck of a party. The CMA team has released the official CMAFest Schedule with a complete daily performer lineup, and we’ve got all your details right here on CountryMusicNewsBlog.com! CMAFest lineup in LP Field*: Thursday June 5, 2014 Brantley Gilbert Dierks Bentley Luke Bryan Rascal Flatts Tim McGraw Friday June 6, 2014 Blake Shelton Eric Church Jason Aldean Miranda Lambert The Band Perry Saturday June 7, 2014 Chris Young Darius Rucker Florida Georgia Line Keith Urban Little Big Town Sunday June 8, 2014 Brad Paisley Hunter Hayes Lady Antebellum Thomas Rhett Zac Brown Band *Performers are listed alphabetically. Stage times have not been released.
Episode 1 Of American Idol Season 12: Recap! Last night was the premiere episode of American Idol Season 12. This go around there are three new judges, including country music’s own Keith Urban. The episode was two hours long, had auditions in New York City and only featured one country artist. Sarah Restuccio, 17, came from Hammonton, New Jersey. She first auditioned with Carrie Underwood‘s “Mama’s Song.” But when Randy Jackson asked her to sing something else, she shocked all judges with her second song. Restuccio began to rap (with her own twist) “Super Bass.” For those who don’t know, “Super Bass” is one of Nicki Minaj’s (also a new judge on season 12) biggest hits. The second song started a bit of a debate with all four of the judges. It made Urban question who she was as an artist, but had Minaj loving her even more. Minaj fully backed the young girl, saying that the boys would love her and that the girls could identify with her. She even said something along the lines of, there are plenty of girls working on a farm singing “Super Bass.” I do have to question if it had been a country song and any other pop/rap song that wasn’t one of her own, would Minaj be so quick to defend? We will never know, but one thing is for certain…she made it to Hollywood! At the end of the stop in NYC, 41 contestants moved on to the next round. A new episode will air tonight on Fox at 8/7c where the judges will search for more people to move on in Chicago. Catch Sarah’s Audition and See What YOU Think!
The Annual CMA Country Christmas Airs On ABC TONIGHT, Don’t Forget to Watch! In case you forgot, we’re here to remind you that the 2012 edition of the annual CMA Country Christmas special airs on ABC TONIGHT (Dec, 20th) from 8:00-11:00pm, ET! Hosted by Jennifer Nettles including awesome performances from some of our favorites like Dierks Bentley, Keith Urban, Martina McBride and more! Find the complete list of performers below, and be sure to tune in! CMA Country Christmas Preview: CMA Country Christmas Performers. Jennifer Nettles Keith Urban Martina McBride Little Big Town Dierks Bentley Lady Antebellum Scotty McCreery The Band Perry Colbie Caillet John Legend Katherine Jenkins
Keith Urban and Taylor Swift Guest On Tim McGraw’s New Album, Two Lanes of Freedom. Tim McGraw has two very special guests on his upcoming album, and that would be country favorites, Keith Urban and Taylor Swift! If everyone wasn’t already excited about hearing new tunes from McGraw, especially after all that Curb Records broo-ha-ha, this collab is sure to get you on board. The new album, Two Lanes of Freedom, is set to release February 5th, 2013, and Urban and Swift are featured on track 13, “Highway Don’t Care” written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear, Brett Warren and Brad Warren. Other tracks include recent releases “Truck Yeah” and “One Of Those Nights” (be sure to check out the complete track listing below!). There will also be a deluxe version of the album released including four additional songs. Tim McGraw Two Lanes of Freedom Track Listing. 1. “Two Lanes of Freedom” 2. “One of Those Nights” 3. “Friend of a Friend” 4. “Southern Girl” 5. “Truck Yeah” 6. “Nashville Without You” 7. “Book of John” 8. “Mexicoma” 9. “Number 37405” 10. “It’s Your World” 13. “Highway Don’t Care” (featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban)
Country Songs About Being Thankful, Grateful and Blessed: Our Thanksgiving Playlist! Sure there’s a whole lot of country music out there about being cheating on, beaten down by the world and worn down, but there is also a whole lot of country music out there about being thankful, grateful and blessed! This week as we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, we wanted a special playlist to listen to. So, we put together some of our favorite country music songs that touch on being thankful for what you have, your life, how things are and everything else. Now, we’re not suggesting that the songs on our list are the only or the best country songs about being thankful. So, if you’ve got one you think should be on our playlist, let us know in the comment section below! Listen: Thanksgiving Country Playlist:
Country Thunder Wisconsin 2013 Line-Up Includes Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum and More! The Country Thunder Wisconsin 2013 line-up is almost full up, and we’ve got the complete list for you here! Taking place in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin July 18th – 21st, this festival is sure to be one heck of a celebration with country music all stars like Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, and Dierks Bentley stepping up to perform! Besides the amazing line-up, the fest also offers a Bluegrass Tent, thrill rides, more food vendors than ever before and more. To gain access to the campgrounds you are required to purchase the 4-day admission wristband, and tickets are currently on sale for a discounted rate of $99 until 11:59pm CST December 31, 2012! Need more info? Head over the Country Thunder page. Country Thunder Wisconsin 2013 Line-Up: Thursday, July 18th: 5:30-6:30pm Chris Janson 7:00-8:30pm Justin Moore 9:00-10:30pm Dierks Bentley Friday, July 19th: 1:00-2:00pm TBA 2:30-3:30pm Morgan Frazier 4:00-5:00pm Parmalee 5:30-6:30pm Dustin Lynch 7:00-8:30pm Little Big Town 9:00-10:30pm Keith Urban Saturday, July 20th: 1:00-2:00pm TBA 2:30-3:30pm Sweetwater Rain 4:00-5:00pm Phil Vassar 5:30-6:30pm Lee Brice 7:00-8:30pm Chris Young 9:00-10:30pm Brad Paisley Sunday, July 21st: 1:00-2:00pm TBA 2:30-3:30pm Edens Edge 4:00-5:00pm TBA 5:30-6:30pm Joe Nichols 7:00-8:30pm TBA 9:00-10:30pm Lady Antebellum
Keith Urban, Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch Are Hitting The Road Together In 2013. This morning, Keith Urban announced his 2013 Tour and the dates of the first leg! He did it in a not so usual way, but it was probably the best way he could have ever done it! With his tour mates, Little Big Town and Dustin Lynch, he released a video to get the word out. Let me tell you, IT IS HILARIOUS! It shows the artists jammed into one car, road trippin’ it and singing songs. My favorite part is probably when they give a shout out to Jason Aldean with “1994,” a song from his latest album Night Train. The tour will be making many stops including Cincinnati, Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Baltimore, Dallas, Tampa and many more! The video is below, so y’all get ready to watch and laugh!
Keith Urban Officially New American Idol Judge! After a whole lot of speculating and wondering on the part of the country music fan base, Keith Urban has officially announced that he will be joining the American Idol judges panel as the fourth judge! This announcement comes after Urban left his current gig on The Australian version of The Voice, and he shared the good news with his fans via Facebook and Twitter! Keith Urban Facebook and Twitter Official Announcements! SO excited to be joining the team on @americanidol!!!!!! -KU#idoljudges — Keith Urban (@KeithUrban) September 16, 2012 Urban is joining previously announced judges Mariah Carey and Nikki Minaj and show veteran Randy Jackson on the panel. So, it will be really interesting to see what kind of dynamic this group has! Auditions for the upcoming season began today, and the judges will appear for an official press conference in New York (where the first round of auditions are being held) Monday, September 17th. Ryan Seacrest, American Idol Host Tweet! It’s official, your new #IdolJudges are @mariahcarey, @nickiminaj, @keithurban & @yo_randyjackson! instagr.am/p/Po5T3JFWf1/ — Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) September 16, 2012
Keith Urban Covers Miranda Lambert’s “Fastest Girl In Town” At Concert. Last week, while doing a show in Canada, Keith Urban covered a friend and fellow musicians current single. Miranda Lambert’s “Fastest Girl In Town,” is a feisty number that talks about a girl who basically just don’t give a flying flip! The Niagara Falls crowd got a special surprise when Urban sang the song with much intensity and ease, only having to change a few words to make it fit (“I’m running with the fastest girl in town“). Watch the video for Urban’s cover of “Fastest Girl In Town” below!
Keith Urban Fills Third Judge Seat On American Idol. American Idol producers have been hankering to get a country music star on the show, and it looks like they are getting exactly what they want in Keith Urban ! Reports are flying all over the place suggesting that Urban is filling the third spot at the judges panel on the long running and extremely popular reality competition series. Neither an official press release or statement has been released by Urban’s reps, but The Country Vibe is siting “sources” suggesting that its a done deal and The Hollywood Reporter seems to have similar “sources” with all kinds of insider knowledge! So, I’m going to go ahead and take all this with a grain of salt, but at the end of the day, I won’t be at all surprised if Keith takes over that third seat at the start of the next season. Rumor has it that Brad Paisley was in talks with Idol producers but bowed out when they couldn’t agree on a price tag (Apparently, Paisley wanted to match Nicki Minaj’s $8 million paycheck). So far, long reigning pop diva Mariah Carey is confirmed and Minaj is finalizing her deal with the show. Either way, it looks like these new judges might just make American Idol interesting again.