OFFSTAGE: Behind Eric Church’s Keith Urban Cameo

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

You’ve seen the videos where Eric Church joined Keith Urban onstage at Urban’s Milwaukee show last week when they sang Church’s “Springsteen”? I just got off the phone with Church, and he told me how he ended up on that stage. “Keith is one of the guys I have an enormous amount of respect for — for the kind artist he is,” he told me. “And we’d been talking back and forth, and he had told me how much he loved the record. And my understanding was that Keith and his band were sound checking with some songs on my record from time to time. So he sent me a text one day and said, ’Hey if you get any free time on this tour, I’d love you to come play a song off Chief [Church’s latest album], so check the schedule.’ And then I texted him and said, ’Let’s do Milwaukee.’ Then I just showed up at their sound check, we did it one time, then we wanted to save it for the show. It was really special, and he played a hell of a guitar solo on it, one that only Keith Urban can do.” He described the performance as stellar and one of the most special nights of his career. But since Urban had told him he knew and loved Church’s entire album, how did they decide on “Springsteen”? I might have gone with “Like Jesus Does” or “Over When It’s Over” or “Keep On.” But Church just told me, “I’m not sure. You’d have to ask Keith. We did play a little of ’Country Music Jesus’ when we were sound checking. He’s so damn good, he could pull off any of them.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.