NYCS First Impression: Keith Urban ‘Graffiti U’
Keith Urban has been making his mark on the country music genre for the past two decades, always finding ways to reinvent his sound while staying relevant to the changes in the business and the fluidity of music itself. In his latest release, Graffiti U certainly stays current while still highlighting Urban’s signature guitar skills as well as his ability to keep his fans engaged and singing along.
The project begins with his duet “Coming Home” written by Urban with pop star Julia Michaels, famed songwriters Nicolle Galyon and J.R Rotem. While Galyon and Urban bring their country flair, Michaels and Rotem who have thrived in the pop and r&b worlds bring a progressive feel to the song which opens with Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried”. Michaels is also a co-writer on three other songs on the project, “Way Too Long”, “Parallel Line”, and “Gemini”.
The opening track sets the tone for the rest of the album, classic country Urban vocals with hints of pop, reggae, and r&b. Furthering his crossover power, Urban cut a few outside tracks, among those”Parallel Line” which was written by Ed Sheeran, Benjamin Levin, Johnny McDaid, Julia Michaels, Amy Wadge and produced by Sheeran and “Horses” which was written by Matt Rad, MoZella, Jamie Scott who have all had major success in the pop world.
A standout on the record is when Urban goes back to his country roots for “Texas Time”. The intro has Urban fiddling with his guitar and saying “You know what we need right now, we need a song about Texas.” Another stand out is “Drop Top” which leans away from the country genre sonically and has the line “She’s going to Coachella with feathers in her hair” but features the epic pipes of Kassi Ashton on the chorus and simply put is the perfect summer, roll your windows down anthem.
Urban was most recently nominated for ACM Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Song of the Year for “Female” and won for Vocal Event of hte Year for “The Fighter” which featured Carrie Underwood. “Female” which is one of the slower songs on Graffiti U takes a stab at the #MeToo movement, empowering women.
The Graffiti U Tour is hitting 58 cities across the country and kicks off June 15th at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in St. Louis, Missouri. Kelsea Ballerini is the supporting act for all tour dates. The tour stops at Barclays Center on October 27th. For all tour dates and more info head to www.keithurban.net.
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