Keith Urban’s Musical Epiphanies and Euro Poolside Playlists

Me, too! Me, too! Keith Urban and I agree on this: John Mellencamp’s Lonesome Jubilee tour in the late ’80s was so, so good. In an interview for People magazine’s special country issue, Urban said it was the best concert he’s ever seen.

“It was the closest thing to a musical epiphany,” he said of Mellencamp’s show in Brisbane, Australia in 1988. “I was at the point where I wanted to start writing songs but didn’t know what sort of music I’d make. A light bulb went off, and I went, ’Whatever’s going on down there is the answer.’ It was as if someone said, ’Take the things you love and make your own music.'”

I saw that show too, but in the U.S., and my takeaway wasn’t to write music like that, rather to write about music like that.

Other musical memories that had an impact on Urban include his first concert (Johnny Cash in Brisbane when he was 5 and wearing a western shirt and a bolo tie, and how in God’s name can I get a picture of that?), listening to his daughters get the lyrics wrong on pop songs (Sunny sings Maroon 5’s “Moves Like Jagger” with “I gotta move my jacket”) and the song he says destroyed him (Brett Eldredge’s “Raymond.” )

Urban also talks about the chill-out music he has made of ambient electronica music he loves. He called that playlist his Euro Poolside mix.

“It’s a compilation made from months of Shazaming obscure things in restaurants in the south of France or shopping in SoHo,” Urban said. “I Shazam stuff all the time. It’s expanded my whole awareness of music.”

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