Keith Urban is one of the most successful country artists ever, and he is also an artist who is constantly expanding the definition of country, mixing it with different styles thereby creating his own unique fusion style of country music. At Friday he talked at the conference and played a full 90 minutes concert at the Stubb’s outdoor venue during SXSW.
Earlier on Friday Keith Urban joined a conversation with Scott Goldman from the GRAMMY Museum, talking about his life and his music career. He came forward as a very nice and also gentle person who, despite all his awards, all his #1 hits and multi million selling albums keeps his feet on the ground. He was also very open about his earlier substance abuse and rehabs. All in all he gave a very sympathetic impression.
The same night Keith Urban played at the Stubb’s outdoor arena. The venue was full, and photography was from the soundboard, meaning trying to shoot over all the cellphones and between the heads of the people just in front of us. This doesn’t guarantee very idel conditions for the photogs, but that is how it is. What was worse, was not that we got three songs, but that we were escorted out afterwards. Since I didn’t have any place to ut my camera gear, it means I only got to see three songs of the concert.
When that is said, it was three great songs with some very accomplished guitar work from Keith Urban. He started out his career as a guitarist, plying in a heavy metal band, and you can hear that he has listened to and played a lot more than classical country music. This also shows in his songwriting. He mixes influences from rock, from funk, from hip hop and whatever he likes and reaches well outside of the traditional country crowd. You can hear this on his latest album, Ripcord from 2016, for instance on Sun Don’t Let Me Down.
We got a lot of the guitarist Keith Urban at the concert, and the crowd went wild from the first chords. It is interesting to see a country artist who is as much a guitar hero as Urban, and one who also attracts such a widespread audience – from the very young to the grown-ups.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.