Keith Urban Recalls The Time He Forgot His Guitar Solo at CMA Fest

Keith Urban Recalls The Time He Forgot His Guitar Solo at CMA Fest

Country superstar Keith Urban recently joined his music fellow Tim McGraw on the latest episode of Beyond The Influence Radio on Apple Music Country. The show is hosted biweekly by the legend McGraw himself who aims to share and deepen his understanding of how people, music, and moments have influenced us on a human level.

This country music legend needs no introduction, his work, and talent as a singer, songwriter, and record producer speak for itself. Along with delivering many hit albums and chart-topping tracks in his career, Urban has also played as a mentor on The Voice and a judge on America Idol. Last year, in light of the global pandemic, Urban hosted an in-drive concert for medical workers where he played with two other musicians on a flatbed truck in front of around 125 cars. He played at the Stardust Drive-In movie theatre, near Nashville, Tennessee, for a crowd of more than 200 medical workers from Vanderbilt Health.

In the latest episode, Tim and Keith went down memory lane. While Keith talked about leaving Australia and what brought him to the US early in his career, his ‘genre identity’ crisis, and his secret trick,’ if he ever forgets a guitar solo while performing live music, we get surprised to know that Tim McGraw was once a ‘bridesmaid’ with Garth Brooks. Now that’s interesting, isn’t it? Keith also shared that 95% of his inspiration is all the new music and much more. So if you want to know all the hot tea spilled in the latest episode, check out the key highlights from the interview below and click here to listen to the whole interview on Apple Music Country!

Tim McGraw On How He Was A Bridesmaid with Garth Brooks!
You know, when I first moved to town, oddly enough, there was a girl named Tammy Rose who sort of took new artists under their wing when they first moved to town and Garth Brooks was a friend of hers. I was a friend of hers. Tracy Lawrence was a friend of hers. And so when she got married, she asked Garth, me and Tracy Lawrence to be her bridesmaids and Garth … had just blown up, big. Tracy had had hits. I had just gotten a record deal and hadn’t had a hit. So we’re all bridesmaids at this wedding for Tammy and I’m standing there. I’m sort of in awe.

You know, Tracy and I had been friends for a while and he had his success, but Garth was there and I’m sort of in awe of Garth being there and I went up to Garth and I said, “You know, I just want to thank you, Garth, because you knocked the door down for all the things that I wanted to do as a country singer. I wanted to come to town and record songs that had a broader melody or broader appeal and I wanted to do shows that were like the rock shows that I saw growing up. That’s the kind of thing that I wanted to do.” And he said something really profound to me and it stuck with me to this day. He goes, “Look, we all moved to town for that reason. I just got here first.” And I thought that that was really sweet of him to say that, but really, really perceptive of him to say that too, as well, because we were all thinking those sorts of things. We all grew up in that environment. Seeing, watching, hearing all these different influences and wanting to include them in the genre of music that we chose to make.

Keith Urban On Forgetting His Guitar Solo in ‘Highway Don’t Care’ at CMA Fest!
Tim McGraw: I will always appreciate the best guitar lead ride ever in Highway Don’t Care. You blew my mind and on that record. And so that will forever, and you almost killed me with it live on the ACM awards.

Keith Urban: Well, I almost killed myself with it when we played the CMA Fest and I was halfway through the solo and went, “Oh, I probably should have practised this before I got out here because I totally forgot it.” And I can see the train wreck look on my face and me trying to look like I ain’t nothing but a thing. But inside I was like, what the hell is going on here? And then suddenly all those years of playing clubs comes in handy. And I remember the great phrase, there are no wrong notes, just the look on your face.

Tim McGraw: No wrong notes, just the look on your face. I love that. Let’s end it with that. There are no wrong notes. Just the look on your face.

Taylor Swift, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw at CMA fest (Photo by Christopher Polk on Getty Images)

Keith Urban On Leaving Australia for the US!
I think fate plays a lot into it. Like I mentioned, my dad’s record collection was all country. So, I started reading the back of all these records at a very young age and every one of them said recorded Nashville, Tennessee, recorded in Nashville, Tennessee. And I’m like, “Ah, okay, well, that’s where you go to make records.” So, that’s a very good, impressionable thing to have imprinted into a seven-year-old brain. You go to Nashville, Tennessee to make records. Okay, I will go to Nashville one day in my life. That’s my life plan… I got to Nashville in 1989. It was my first trip and I was wide-eyed and excited to be there and then I started making regular trips around ’91, ’92, and slowly moving in with a guy who let me crash on his couch and I would just leave clothes at his house every time I went there and then slowly was moving into Nashville and probably living there from ’93 onwards and I was just excited to be there, and that was really it.

Keith Urban On How He Used To Be Able To Sing Like Dolly Parton!
Country (music) was the thing that I took to, it was the songs I could learn, it’s what I could sing and songs like Galveston, Wichita Lineman, all the Glen Campbell stuff. Dolly Parton because I could sing in her register pre-puberty. Man, I could literally sing Coat of Many Colors or Applejack in Dolly’s key. It was insane, and it’s floating around on YouTube, Tim.

Keith Urban at the 53rd annual CMA Awards in 2019 (Photo credits: Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Keith Urban Tells Apple Music About His Genre ‘Identity Crisis’!
I was playing all this country music. I was planning some cover bands and of course doing a mix, and then when I was about 15, I discovered Iron Maiden. I’m like, “Oh my God, this band, this is amazing. I need to be in a band like this.” And, I got asked to join this band called Fractured Mirror, and the lead singer had been playing the guitar. So, we had a big Marshall stack. I just had a Fender Twin because that’s how you roll in the country. And he’s like, “Man, I don’t want to play the guitar. Why don’t you plug into my Marshall stack and join our band?” And I’m like, “I am in heaven.” I literally got the leather jacket. I got the studded armbands, I’m happening. Simultaneous to this time, which I would have been 15, 16, a friend turned me on to Ricky Skaggs and whatever was going on with this Ray Flacke chicken pickin’, I was like, “This is insanely awesome,” and I was learning chicken pickin’. We played a gig one night as Fractured Mirror. We’re playing, I think a Whitesnake song or Judas Priest or Scorpions or something, and they throw me the solo. I let rip with this chicken pickin’. I remember the lead singer looking over me like, “What the… What are you doing?” And I’m like, “I’m chicken pickin’ through the Marshall.” And, there was like the first crash into my identity crisis. What am I? What do I do? Because this kind of sounds good to me, but it doesn’t really live in either world.

So the next thing, and I’ll say the story really quickly because it was massively important. 1998 rolled around, I heard Lonesome Jubilee by John Mellencamp, Paper on Fire, Check It Out, all these great songs that were sort of, I don’t know, impossible to define what they were. I went and saw John in concert and I sat there, Tim, and watched him almost just give me the most epiphany I’d ever had in my life because there was this rocker… And you know how his band, there’s this rock rhythm section, Kenny Aronoff and just wailing away, rock guitars with Mike Wanchic and Larry Crane. But, then he’s got acoustic guitars and he’s got a fiddle player and he’s got an accordion, but he’s singing with total James Brown swagger and cocksureness, but he’s singing rural lyrics and the whole fusion. With total attitude. Everything I loved about all the music I was confused by how they met, he distilled into a thing and it still gives me chills today, and I walked out of that concert going, “I get it. It’s not either/or it’s just make your own thing.” That’s what it was, and the great thing is I didn’t leave that concert saying, “Oh, I’m going to do John Mellencamp music.” That wasn’t what he said to me that night. What he said to me was find the things you love and make your own thing, and it was life-changing for me.”

Keith Urban and Tim McGraw On Their Early Influences!
Keith Urban: The truth is because I started so young and we lived in a small town, we’d go and see cover bands play, even from the age of seven and eight. My mum and dad would go to this football club every other Sunday, and there was some b***hing three-piece bar band in the corner and that was fantastic. And, there was a girl who was the lead singer. Her name was Petra Keating and she played guitar and I’m like, “I’d like to be as good as her.” And then, we’d go and see other bands and I’m like, “Oh, I wish I was as good as that guy.” And so, I think that there’s a lot of those local cover band guitarists playing in our hometowns that never get the props they deserve. And for a guy like me, that was really my first influence, was all those unknown, unnamed guitar players in cover bands.

Tim McGraw: That makes a lot of sense here. Same thing with me growing up in Louisiana, my mum managed a hotel and a bar called The Rusty Nail and I would think the same thing. I would be 12 years old and sitting at the back of the bar at night at The Rusty Nail and watching James Pastel play his show and think, “God, I want to be as good as that guy.” If I can get his gig down the road sometime, then I’m doing well. That’s what I want out of life.

Keith Urban: That’s it. I think more often than not, those end up being… Especially if you start young as we did, those are the first influences and I think what you just said then is a good point. They’re within reach. They’re right in front of me and they’re playing something that I think I could get to that level. I can’t get that Eddie Van Halen yet, but I can get to this cat.

Tim McGraw: Yes, exactly. It gives you a stepping stone to get to somewhere. And then once you get to there, well, then there’s somebody else better than I can follow.

Keith Urban On What Inspired His Career In Music!
So my Dad was a drummer, so I grew up with a musician in the family, even though I probably didn’t realize that at the time because he never played the drums when I was a kid. I just saw photos of him when he was in his twenties playing in different bands. And then, of course, he had a family and he couldn’t pay his bills doing that, so he got other jobs…. So they asked somebody what’s a good age for our son who seems to have a rhythm to get taught some chords? And they said around six is a great age. And lo and behold, around about that age of six, my mum and dad ran a little corner store and a lady named Sue McCarthy came by one day and asked if she could put an ad in the window offering guitar lessons. And they said, “If you teach our son for free, we’ll put your ad in the window.” And so, I got taught how to negotiate and had to learn some chords all in the same breath.”

via GIPHY

Keith Urban On Working with Dann Huff!
“I guess it’s all about trust and incentive. And the reason why any of us create, that changes. It ebbs and flows for me. Why do I create, why do I do what I do? What’s the thing that pulls me towards it? And as a musician, again, I think I’m always interested in things that I think might go together… And really, I’ve done it since Golden Road when I got to work with Dann Huff for the first time….I was so sick of the Emperor’s New Clothes producers I’d worked with. Who really did nothing. It was the engineers and the musicians. It was everybody else. And I’m like,”Well, anybody can do that. What do you actually do? Show me what you do. Don’t bring anything.” And damned if that guy didn’t show up. I’ll remember this until the day I die. He showed up. And he had his guitar and his amp, he set up in the middle of the room. The band ran a song and then he started going over and telling the bass player, play a bit of this. Chris McHugh, change the snare drum here. Let’s change this, tweak this a little bit. Hey, Tim Akers, play this inversion here. And I watched the whole thing just go up on many notches. And I sat there going, well, I’ll be damned. He’s a real proper producer. And that’s why we ended up doing so many records together because he’s a badass.”

Listen to THE SPEED OF NOW Part 1, a studio record by Keith Urban, below:

What do you love the most about Keith Urban? And what is your favorite track off his album? Share your thoughts in the comments section below or you can also tweet to us at @TheHoneyPOP! Connect with us on Facebook and Instagram!

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Featured Image: Keith Urban via Twitter/ Beyond The Influence Radio with Tim McGraw on Apple Music Country

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Khushboo Malhotra

Pop fanatic and a dreamer, I breathe music and everything that comes along! Have a story? Get in touch: khushboomalhotra24@gmail.com Twitter: @KhushMalhotra

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