OFFSTAGE: Keith Urban Finds Holy Grail in Waylon Jennings’ Guitar

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Here’s a little something you may not know. Keith Urban used Waylon Jennings’ Fender Telecaster when he was writing a killer new song, “Georgia Woods,” which is on Get Closer, coming out tomorrow (Nov. 16). This guitar is covered in black-and-white hand-tooled leather, which made it come out of the Nashville flood in May pretty much unscathed. (The leather did require a little bit of refurbishing, though, so Urban’s team found the original guy who made that guitar for Jennings and had him handle the repairs.) “It’s like playing a holy grail,” Urban said. “I wanted to use it on some songwriting sessions and the riff that starts the song came straight out of that guitar.” Well, maybe the guitar should get some of the credit. But I think Urban and co-writer Darrell Brown deserve some, too. Brown told me that he and Urban were writing in a little studio at the Village Recorder in Santa Moncia, Calif., when Urban pulled Jennings’ guitar from the case. “It was like seeing something in a museum. You see a piece of art and you want to just reach out and touch it,” Brown said. “Keith just knows that every instrument has a song in it and he gets inspired by that. So he started playing it, and the intro started happening, and I said, ’Do it again.’ It just came out with his fingers on the fretboard, and we had to follow it. ’Georgia Woods’ was like a little treasure waiting to be uncovered.”