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Born in New Zealand, country artist Keith Urban learned to play guitar as a six-year-old in Australia, after a young woman asked to place an ad in his dad's shop window offering guitar lessons. His parents made a deal with her, offering their advertisement in exchange for lessons for their young son. The boy demonstrated natural ability, and by the time he was eight, Urban was winning local talent shows. He also involved himself with a youth acting company that required him to sing, dance, and memorize lines, all of which led to a level of comfort on-stage that would later serve him well in his solo career.
With his father deeply interested in American culture and country music, it was natural that Urban would gravitate toward the country genre as well, and the burgeoning musician took influence from the voices of Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, and Don Williams, as well as the songwriting talents of Jimmy Webb ("Galveston"). Urban added his own dimension to those influences when he discovered Dire Straits and became interested in the guitar playing of Mark Knopfler and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsey Buckingham, which led to in-depth study and endless practice of their techniques.
Australian country music was primed for a revolution at the start of the '90s, and Keith Urban -- young, brash, blonde, rock-ish -- was part of that transformation. After signing with Australia's EMI branch, he issued his first album and charted multiple number one hits in his home country. Still, Urban's eye remained on Nashville, TN, which he considered to be the birthplace of the music in his heart. Having made periodical pilgrimages to Nashville to forge valuable career bridges, he soon decided to base himself in the city. With his Australian bandmate, drummer Peter Clarke, he formed the three-piece band the Ranch. Their original bass player soon returned to Australia, but West Virginian Jerry Flowers quickly fit in.
The band's live shows, featuring Urban's standout lead guitar playing, led to a record deal with Capitol Nashville and a management contract with I.R.S. Records founder/Police manager Miles Copeland. The group's debut album, The Ranch, was released to critical acclaim in 1997, receiving accolades for its unique take on country music and Urban's guitar playing. The music industry also took notice, and when the Ranch disbanded soon after, other artists called on Urban to add some of his fleet-fingered magic to their records. Garth Brooks asked Urban to perform on Double Live, the Dixie Chicks invited him to play on their second album, and Matt Rollings -- one of Nashville's top musicians -- hired Urban as a session player on an album he was producing. The two immediately clicked.
Impressed with Rollings' knowledge of Nashville's session players, Urban asked him to produce his next solo album. Released in 1999, the self-titled Keith Urban spawned four hit singles and helped paved the way for his successful solo career. A tour in support of that album saw Keith Urban opening for such major acts as Dwight Yoakam, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, as well as headlining his own shows. Urban found increased success with 2002's Golden Road, which sent three singles to the top of the country charts and went triple platinum in the U.S., as well as 2004's Be Here, which bested the feats of its predecessor by selling over four million copies. Keith Urban was now a contemporary country superstar, replete with Grammy nominations and paparazzi attention, and his label capitalized on that attention by re-issuing the Ranch's debut album later that year. An anthology, Days Go By, followed in 2005.
The next year, Urban continued to attract media attention with his highly publicized engagement (and June marriage) to fellow Australian Nicole Kidman, plus his voluntary entry into a rehabilitation center for alcohol abuse. He temporarily postponed all his upcoming promotional appearances, but the album Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing was released that November as scheduled. Although it failed to produce a number one hit (the first of Urban's solo albums to do so), Love, Pain & the Whole Crazy Thing nevertheless went double platinum in America, aided in part by a successful tour with opener Carrie Underwood. Urban then returned to the top of the charts in 2008 with a re-recorded version of "You Look Good in My Shirt," which had originally appeared on 2002's Golden Road before receiving the revised treatment for Urban's Greatest Hits: 18 Kids. Later that year "Sweet Thing" also charted well, setting the stage for the release of Defying Gravity in 2009. ~ Ed Nimmervoll & Andrew Leahey, All Music Guide

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Solo AlbumsKeith Urban in The Ranch, Keith Urban (1991), Keith Urban (1999)
Instruments:  Vocals, Guitar
Genre:  Country
Birth Date:  1967
Gender:  Male
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Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
What can I say? Keith is the all around best artist/musician!
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