When: Thu., July 25 2013
KEITH URBAN Think of Keith Urban’s chiseled good looks and storybook marriage to Nicole Kidman and your mind goes to paparazzi, not Grand Ole Opry. Yet the commercial appeal of Urban’s slick song craft is undeniable. Alternating between polished ballads and sunny heartland rock, Urban is one of the prime architects of the now-ubiquitous melding of modern pop and mainstream country. If Urban can be formulaic, he at least juiced up stick-in-the mud Nash Vegas with drum loops and electronics. At its best, Urban’s countrypolitan pop ‘n’ roll recalls the session player density of vintage Glen Campbell. Like Campbell, Urban is a shit-hot guitarist, harnessing brash fretwork to direct tunes. Urban shoots for the rollicking, down-home authenticity of Creedence Clearwater Revival, but his fussy commercial instincts draw him off target. His simple songs combine banjos, e-bows and Hammond B-3s in near-claustrophobic layers. Urban’s crowd-pleasing confections are also marred by his over-reliance on worn-out country tropes for his lyrics. As a result, Urban’s songs are tarnished gems in burnished settings.