OFFSTAGE: Keith Urban, David Nail Sing Glen Campbell’s Praises

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

One of the sweetest spots of Wednesday’s (Nov. 9) CMA Awards was the Glen Campbell tribute from Vince Gill, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley. I’d heard Urban in a recent radio interview refer to Campbell as a “guitartist.” (I think he made that word up.) “I’ve always been a fan of what I like to call ‘guitartists.’ You know, those guitar-artists like Glen Campbell, who’s probably one of my biggest influences — those guys who knew a good song, had a great voice and played great and just the all-around guys with a guitar.” So it was only natural to see Urban up there playing and singing “Wichita Lineman” on the awards show. Before the performance, though, David Nail told me how thrilled he was that Campbell was finally being recognized in such a big way. “I’m the biggest Glen Campbell fan in the world,” he said. “I’m probably gonna cry like a baby.” Then he went on and on about what an influence Campbell had on him. “He’s the reason I’m a singer. I think he’s the best singer the genre’s ever had. And I think he’s the most undervalued artist this genre’s ever had,” he said. “The record [Ghost on the Canvas] he’s got out right now? It should be up for a Grammy. He’s James Dean cool. He’s just it.”

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