OFFSTAGE: How’s Nashville, Keith Urban?

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

It’s way more cosmopolitan, that’s for sure. That’s how Keith Urban describes today’s Nashville. As opposed to the Nashville he moved into 20 years ago. “The influx of people has brought a much greater diversity. But, for me, the original part of Nashville that I loved is still here. It’s just sort of been added on to,” he says in American Way magazine. The original part he’s talking about has a lot to do with the music and a little to do with the food. “The great thing is, a lot of the places I went to early on to hear live music are still there,” Urban says. (12th & Porter and the Exit/In have both been around since before his move to Music City in 1992.) He also cites places like the Cannery Ballroom and Marathon Music Works as examples of newer ways to showcase live music. And as for food, he said when he first got to Nashville he loved the meat-and-threes. “Places for funky, earthy food — great cheeseburgers and all that stuff. A lot of those are still around, like Brown’s Diner, Rotier’s Restaurant and a great spot downtown called Jack’s Bar-B-Que. Of course, there are all the higher-end restaurants, too. But, to me, if you want something that’s unique to Nashville, those are the places to go.” But so much has changed for Urban since he came to America as a single guy. He has a wife and two daughters now, so now what does Nashville mean to him? “I think when you’re in the South, there is a lot of focus on family. And Nashville’s great with that. Everybody we know has kids, and there’s a real priority on that, which suits us perfectly.”