Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our heads are spinning; so many questions...

There has been so much lately in the news lately about Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman that has led to so many questions that we are going to ask.

1. When were the Hamptons beach pictures actually taken? They couldn't have been taken on the evening of the 18th; Keith was in Las Vegas - too many people saw him there. And why all of a sudden these “happy together” pictures?

2. Where did they spend Sunday Urban's birthday? She was photographed in New York City on the 7th of July yet Keith tells a reporter two days later they were in Nashville and had a little cake. Perhaps he was with Sunday on July 7th and her mother missed the big occasion.

3. Why no comment from Keith about Jennifer Nettles dropping out of the shows? Even Kenny Chesney made a statement supporting Nettles and her "vocal problems" but then again, Kenny never had vocal problems like Keith did in 2003 and 2005. Perhaps Keith knows a little more about those problems.

4. Unlike almost every other tour mate, Keith didn't invite Taylor Swift to sing with him during his show. Why?

5. Why would Biography neglect to mention that Keith won the most prestigious award in Country Music, Entertainer of the Year, and yet spend more than a third of the program explaining how Nicole Kidman saved Keith Urban? Why no mention of his womanizing? Or his long term relationship with a woman who he dedicated his first solo CD too? Why no mention of his appeal to women and the way his female fans were manipulated by the barefoot love poet persona? Why no mention of his brother Shane? His manager, Gary Borman, who was responsible for his success, and his father figure, lawyer Ansel Davis? Why only mention his Grammys but not when he won them?

6. Why would someone make a deal to sell his publishing for major dollars after he spent his first major money buying up all his material? Does Keith need money for something?

7. How did Keith get that stiff neck (pinched nerve as he called it)?

8. Why in any biography or writing about Keith Urban do they not mention his turbulent relationship with his father?

9. Isn't Keith really playing with fate by flying out to a concert on the day it is happening? What about plane delays and weather?

10. How is Keith's relationship with his parents and brother? Are they still involved in his life?

We were just wondering.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Why do we want the arrangement to be over?

That's an interesting question. That question makes a few assumptions that some of us have never bought. First, it assumes that this relationship between Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban is a legitimate marriage. Yes, it is legal, although no marriage certificate has ever been published. But, is it a marriage like actual non-celebrities have? No. Not really. They may live together and appear in public as married, but is that more about appearance and what that means in celebrity culture as opposed to day to day marriage? Yes. This relationship has never been normal, even by Hollywood standards. There is something that is just off about these two. Maybe it is their lack of physical sexual chemistry? Keith Urban is a very sensual person. You meet him or go see the shows and you see that. You don't see that with his wife and you never have. Public displays of affection are awkward and you can't just blame Kidman for that. When she was with her one true love she was very demonstrative, very physical, very much in love. So, why not with Keith?

We also have to wonder why they treat each other as if they were adolescents. We know that Kidman appears to have some difficulty speaking coherently, but Keith "acts" as if he has never been in a mature relationship before. His public persona is weakened, he sounds stupid, and he is not. This in turn affects his work and that is the number one reason we would like to see this business arrangement end.

Those of us who have been fans of Keith Urban for more than a few years know what he is capable of; he wasn't an orb who just put out vanilla songs with vanilla lyrics. He had the potential to take Country Music to new areas; worldwide acceptance and he had the songs and stage persona to do it. The future was wide open. We also know how hard he struggled to get there and some of what he had to do. Many of us realized it took a toll on him, but he was so very close in 2004 to becoming a big player and for those of us who went to the shows and bought the records and requested the songs there was a sense we were helping him. You can understand with all the struggle that he went through why a puffy media romance with a Hollywood actress would appeal to him. Instant fame fast. But what price did he pay?

While many of us have been fans for a long time and knew he had a private life and private struggles we didn't know everything nor did we want to. I really didn't need to know that he liked to bathe his lovers or feed them candy in bed. We didn't want to know or speculate about his drug use. But with Kidman we got to learn everything. Did that help him or hurt him? It hurt him. If you wondered the cost he paid for this high profile relationship it comes down to two words: Betty Ford.

We also look at how awful some of the work is; Keith dedicating everything he lives and breathes to Kidman takes away from the music itself. For instance he has given the kiss of death to his latest single, Only You Can Love Me This Way, by saying it’s for Kidman. By associating it with her, he takes the meaning away from the listener; and if you don't like Kidman, well, the song is ruined. That is what has happened for the last four years. This is why we say 'shut up and sing' Keith. That is why we praise him when she isn't mentioned and he puts on a good show, and it is why we can't wait to see this farce of a relationship end.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tidbits from the news...

Excerpts from an interview and a review... And some news...

Keith Urban recalls Sac as a fun town

.......Nothing brought him as much attention as his June 2006 marriage to Kidman, the stunning blonde and Oscar winner for "The Hours" (2002), and his almost immediate entry into a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse. He was in rehab for the first few months of their marriage.

The song "Thank You," the final cut on the album "Defying Gravity," would seem to tell that story. It's sort of his autobiography in verse – and a love letter to his wife.

"I wrote this song with Rick Nowels, who doesn't do a lot of lyrics, but he had this piece of music in his cache," Urban says. "When I got to the session, he played the piece, and it drew this song out of me. I don't know if I would have written it if I had sat down to think of a lyric or think of a title, so it's even more truthful. It's pure reaction from the music."

The song begins: There were nights where I was sure/ I wouldn't see the morning sun/ And there were days that seemed so dark/ I couldn't wait for night to come/ I couldn't stand to think about how/ My life slipped away from me.

"I think when it was finished," Urban says of the song, "I looked at it and thought, 'God, it's really out there, saying it very clearly.' I'm happy about that, because I don't know if I could have been as truthful if I had tried to write a song with that title or tried to write about wanting to express my gratitude to my wife and my love for her." ........


The review from LA:

The L.A. Times music blog

Granted, Urban didn't directly address his well-publicized substance-abuse relapse and recovery on that album, and the closest fans got to a peek inside his private world during Sunday's show was when he performed "Only You Can Love Me This Way."
He dedicated the song to his wife, Nicole Kidman, "who happens to be here tonight, [and] I'm very happy about that.".......

-Randy Lewis


Keith has left Capitol Nashville:


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two Sets of Pictures, Which Do You Believe?

We have discussed two bits of film. One is a video; one is a series of still shots.

The same two people are in them: Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman. These were shot less than a week apart and are, oh, so telling. The video was shot on Tuesday, July 14th; we see the "loved up" couple in an SUV in New York City.

Suddenly, Kidman sprints from the car. Urban bolts from his side of the vehicle and grabs Kidman by the shoulders and tries to talk to her as photographers snap Kidman and ask her questions about her daughter. As they enter the apartment building, Urban suddenly drops his hand, walks away from her, and struts to the elevator. In our set of still pictures we have the couple on a beach strolling, sitting, talking, and Keith giving her an awkward hug.

They seem the perfect picture of happiness.

Why were the paps on the beach in early morning in California, the day of Keith's Vegas show that he rode his tour bus to? The date was manipulated perhaps? Likely. Why was baby Sunday not at the beach? A perfect photo op if she is walking... walking hand in hand with her parents... Why was there a Twitter sitting of Nicole at Whole Foods in Nashville from the same day? More manipulation? But, of course.

So which is the real state of the Urban marriage? We don't feel we are going out of our way in saying the video from Tuesday night is an accurate depiction of the marriage. The new set of photos were in direct reaction to the video that had been posted all over the internet, and the story circulating about Nicole being afraid of the sun from her Indian soft drink video shoot. These photos are fake. Too posed, too stiff. Sorry, but the cracks in the marriage are starting to show and no matter how many staged photos they create, be it a movie date or a red carpet, all is not well in this relationship. There we said it.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Escape Tour - Las Vegas - 7/18/09

Spare us Keith.... Nashville is deceptive, your wife brought culture into your life. Aren't you special?

Jul. 17, 2009
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

SOUNDS: Making It Work

Adaptability, perseverance paid off during Keith Urban's journey to Nashville



Keith Urban

8 p.m. Saturday

Mandalay Bay Events Center, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. South

$20-$97.50 (632-7580)

Cosmopolitan country artist Keith Urban began playing the guitar at age 6 and was performing in Australian pubs by the time he was 15.

He was 15 years old and in danger of becoming ground chuck.

The Australian pub scene is a notorious meat grinder for musicians, with a rugged working-class fan base that doesn't want any frills with its Foster's.

It was these hard-knock ranks that Keith Urban threw himself into as a young teen, quitting school, trying to make a name for himself, playing in a band five nights a week.

There was just one problem: Urban had grown up listening to his dad's Glen Campbell, Charlie Pride, Ronnie Milsap and Merle Haggard records, and country music was the root of his inspiration.

But the crowds that flocked to the pubs loved their rock 'n' roll, weened on hard-hitters such as AC/DC and Rose Tattoo, and Urban would have to improvise.

His one saving grace was that he was from Brisbane, a slightly more rural city than Sydney and Melbourne to the south.

"There were a lot of farmers around that area, so you could play slightly more singalong type stuff, and it would always work in those pubs," Urban recalls. "You just had to beef it up a little bit sometimes. You might do a Creedence Clearwater song, but with a wailing, distorted guitar solo. You'd just find a way to make it all work."

And that's pretty much what Urban has done ever since. He's never really fit in anywhere at first. When he initially got to Nashville in 1992, he already had established himself as a musician with some promise in Australia, notching a quartet of number one hits on the country charts.

But Nashville wasn't so welcoming.

"Nashville was a very, very difficult town when I got there, particularly not being from here," Urban says. "I thought I had support, with the way people were talking to me and slapping me on the back. I thought, 'Oh, this is fantastic.' But it would never really amount to anything. It was a deceptive town in a lot of ways. And I'm grateful for that, because I think if I had known that everyone thought I was a total fool for trying to do what I did, I don't know what effect it would have had on me. Maybe the deception was a good thing for me."

Nevertheless, it took Urban nearly a decade of struggling in the Music City songwriting circles before he'd eventually be named "Top New Male Vocalist" at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards.

Since then, Urban has become one of the most recognizable faces of modern country.

Urban is different from his peers, guys such as Brad Paisley, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney, both for the alchemical nature of his discs and the personal pathos that underlie them.

He's an ace guitarist, having played since he was 6 years old, and his records are underscored with six-string rock 'n' roll pyrotechnics.

Also, there's an earthiness to his songwriting that balances out the slick, polished feel of his recordings.

Urban's always been a fan of and identified with contemporary country, but for him, growing up, that meant artists such as Alabama, Lacy J. Dalton and Janie Fricke -- acts who were far more attuned to the genre's honky-tonk origins than today's current crop of Nashville stars.

As such, there's always been a hint of traditionalism in Urban's repertoire, even though it's buoyed by a clear and unabashed pop savvy.

Combined with Urban's well-documented struggles with drug addiction over the years, he's just always seemed more like a real-life person than so many of his prefab counterparts.

This doesn't always work to Urban's advantage.

Shortly after the release of his 2006 disc, "Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing," he checked himself into rehab once again.

"The last record was very difficult to make," Urban says. "I felt this internal challenge to try and make this record that worked in so many areas and so many different countries, and I was second guessing everything. Having said all of that, I still find it to be a really strong, valid record for me. In the end, art often lies in the attempt, which is why there's so many frustrated artists. I think that with some distance from that last record, I've had a greater appreciation for what we are able to do under the circumstances."

Since then, Urban has rebounded strongly, and his latest album, "Defying Gravity," is a sharp, multifaceted affair heavy on texture and nuance. It might be his most intriguing disc, equally haunting and hopeful.

To hear Urban tell it, his wife, actress Nicole Kidman, is responsible in large part for broadening his horizons.

These days, he's arguably country's leading cosmopolitan.

"My wife is steeped in the more cultural side of life, with the art galleries and books and painters and so forth than I used to be and has opened up a whole new world of art that's been really good for me," he says. "And so when it comes time to be going and making a record, I sort of bring everything into the studio. I hope that we come with the thing that I'm carrying in my head -- and my heart."

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Escape Tour - Denver - 7/15/09


Urban a big hit, so who wouldn't wanna see him?

By Ricardo Baca The Denver Post

With the rugged good looks of a young Brad Pitt and the big arena rock hooks of an '80s-era Berlin, country music star Keith Urban owned a near-capacity crowd at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.

The man who added the pop to country threw down a crowd-pleasing selection of songs that spanned his recorded history — diving back to his career-defining eponymous hit record from a decade ago but focusing on his new redemptive outing, "Defying Gravity."

Looking fit, wearing a chest-snuggling red-sparkle plaid shirt, Urban traversed the goliath stage with confidence and flair, unafraid to venture out to the crowd and onto an ancillary stage on the other side of the arena. Backed by a five-piece band that was competent in electric and acoustic guitar — along with mandolin and banjo — Urban's hits and B-sides alike sounded complete and full.

It helped that Urban is one of country music's finest (and, surprisingly, most soulful) electric guitar players. Urban's solo at the end of "Stupid Boy" was inspired and honest.

Among the show's highlights was the set's second song, "Days Go By," one of Urban's most likable tracks. The banjo and mandolin on "Where the Blacktop Ends" was refreshing, and it added a rootsy component to Urban's polished songs. One of his most recognizable ballads, "Making Memories of Us," was a potent moment that had the entire floor singing along with a country star who's a rock star.

Urban left a lot of the singing in "Raining on a Sunday," done solo on acoustic guitar, to the crowd. And "Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me" was an undeniable fun pop-country concoction, one that would win over nonbelievers.

The new "Sweet Thing" was a riotous pop-country ballad that Urban wrote in honor of his famous wife, Nicole Kidman. The upbeat song certainly hit a chord with the many twenty- and thirtysomething women there. "Kiss a Girl," another new song written for Kidman, sounded fresh and alive.

But Urban's appeal didn't stop at the women in the audience. Grown men sang along with his songs proudly, and it was obvious they were doing so out of a love for the music.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nicole Kidman 101 (with a little Keith Urban rolled in)

1. Always remember Nicole is the most important person in the universe.

2. Nicole will always remind you that she is the most important person in the universe: by having her contractual husband praise her to the rafters. Unfortunately the praise is not coming from her children, parents, sister nor her former lovers, co-stars and directors.

3. You must admire Nicole. No question about it, she is there for you to admire and emulate.

4. She is the only person who has ever:

a. Been a woman
b. Been a mother
c. Had her heart broken
d. Found new deeper love
e. Discovered that Keith Urban is quite musical
f. Admired her father

5. Having a baby is so easy after years of not being able to; if you pay the right price a child will be yours.

6. Is glad that she can spend some time in the backwoods of Tennessee so she can relate to the little people who want to live there.

7. Can create work for herself over and over again.

8. Nicole will never age. She has enough money to stop that.

9. Show the entire world what a secure happy marriage she has and that her husband adores her and never knew a woman before her - really, really, he says it all the time.

10. Realizes that everyone looks to her so she knows why you will understand why she doesn't like anyone besides herself.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Escape Tour - Dallas - 7/11/09

We were there: Keith Urban at AAC

12:31 AM Sun, Jul 12, 2009
Joy Tipping/Reporter

Keith Urban is a terrific singer, but after seeing him for the first time in concert, I can tell you that's not the reason to pay whatever it takes to get in the next time he's in town. That would be his pure, blow-you-away musicianship. As good a singer as he is, that talent completely pales in comparison to his virtuosity as a guitarist. At Saturday night's concert at American Airlines Center, one of the standout moments was an extended duet of Urban on electric guitar with Chris McHugh on drums. I closed my eyes for a minute, and I think I know now what it must've felt like to be at a Jimi Hendrix concert.

Another highlight was when Urban sang his hit cover of Del Rio native Radney Foster's "Raining on Sunday" -- and out came Foster to sing it with him.

Urban seems an extraordinarily generous performer, both with his band and the audience. He gave each of his five band members a lengthy solo, and he played every side of the packed house. At one point, he went to the opposite end of the floor area from the stage, where a smaller stage was set up. "Who's got the good seats now?" he asked the ecstatic back-of-the-room crowd.

For a full review of Urban and opening act Jason Aldean, check back here on Sunday evening, and in the print paper on Monday. G'day, as Keith would say. Or, g'night.

Extended review:

Concert review: Keith Urban thrills with energetic, generous show at American Airlines Center

01:33 PM CDT on Sunday, July 12, 2009
By JOY TIPPING / The Dallas Morning News

Country star Keith Urban is a terrific singer, but that talent completely pales in comparison to his virtuosity as a guitarist, both electric and acoustic.

He's one of those artists you have to see live to truly appreciate – you simply can't feel the New Zealand native's energy and jaw-dropping moments of musical brilliance from the radio or listening to a song on an iPod.

At Saturday night's concert at a packed American Airlines Center, the absolute show-stopping moment came when Urban, on electric guitar, played an extended duet with Chris McHugh on drums before launching into the encore number "You Look Good In My Shirt." I closed my eyes for a minute, and I think I know now what it must've felt like to be at a Jimi Hendrix concert.

Urban also did an extended guitar lick in the rocking closing number, "Better Life" from 2004's Be Here CD. He did songs from throughout his decade-long U.S. career, including several from Defying Gravity, which was released in March: "Sweet Thing," "Kiss A Girl," and the mournful ballad " 'Till Summer Comes Along."

Another highlight was when Urban sang his hit cover of Del Rio, Texas, native Radney Foster's "Raining on Sunday" – and, surprise – out came Foster to sing it with him.

Urban seems an extraordinarily generous performer, both with his band and the audience. He sang nearly two dozen songs in the two-hour show, and gave each of his five band members a lengthy solo. At one point, he took off to the opposite end of the floor area from the stage. "Who's got the good seats now?" he asked the ecstatic back-of-the-room crowd.

The production itself was tremendously good, with crisp sound and a lot of downright brilliant videography, both live and recorded.

Jason Aldean, who brings the same kind of electric energy to the stage as Urban, made a perfect opening act, playing for about 45 minutes and closing with the irresistible girls-in-boots anthem "She's Country" from his latest CD, Wide Open.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Escape Tour - Omaha - 7/9/09

Published Friday July 10, 2009

Urban had audience at his beck and call
By Kevin Coffey

Somebody might want to pat down Keith Urban's tight plaid shirt and make sure he's not carrying a deed in his pockets.

Why? Because he owned Qwest Center Omaha.

At his beck and call Thursday night, the audience — heavy on young ladies — screamed when the Aussie country singer took the stage in fitted black jeans, his hair in his eyes. An “I-can't-hear-you” hand to his ear brought cheers. And pointing the microphone to the crowd caused fans to sing whole verses.

The arena — packed to the rafters — was full of Urban-ites, who showed that country fans aren't all boots, cowboy hats and honky tonk. Most were female, decked out in sundresses and T-shirts, not plaid or belt buckles.

“It's very nice to be back,” Urban said. “It's your night. If you want to, stand on the chairs. Sing. Dance. Have a good time tonight!”

Members of the audience took his advice, dancing in the aisles and on top of their seats, much to the chagrin of Qwest Center crowd control. They also sang whole sections of songs, nearly drowning out Urban on several, including “Tonight I Wanna Cry.”

Though he's the kind of performer who makes you want to work out more and get a better haircut, Urban showed he's not just a pretty boy.

The guy can jam.

Urban played lead guitar in his six-piece band, using at least eight different guitars, including a Fender Telecaster that had colored, flashing lights in its body.

The country star brought the show to every corner of the arena, making sure more than the people in the front row got good pictures of him on their digital cameras.

In the middle of “You're My Better Half,” Urban walked into the crowd, making his way to the back of the arena. He smiled, laughed and played a guitar solo while members of the crowd mobbed him, taking pictures and mussing his hair. He set up on a small stage in the opposite end of the arena, playing “Once In a Lifetime,” “Making Memories of Us” and “Only You Can Love Me This Way.”

Later in the show, after returning to the main stage, Urban ventured into the crowd once again. This time, he played “You're In My Shirt” on a tiny stage in the arena's lower bowl.

At times, Urban may have seemed far away from some parts of the audience. But enormous video screens made the acoustic, emotional songs like “You'll Think of Me” seem intimate, like the performer was playing in a living room.

At the same time, its images of Urban's guitar shredding and big smile upped the intensity on the big numbers, including “Who Wouldn't Wanna Be Me.”

Urban made the night for one little girl who carried her own acoustic guitar when he beckoned her on stage. After strumming with him and singing on “Once In a Lifetime,” Urban hugged her and signed her instrument.

“What a magic night tonight,” Urban said. “I love this town.”

Contact the writer:

444-1557, kevin.coffey@owh.com