Russell Dickerson on the Music That Built Him

Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Dixie Chicks Are Part of the Foundation

Russell Dickerson is currently out on the road with his friend Thomas Rhett, and I think I know what their pre-show jams might be.

Keith Urban … and more Keith Urban.

Dickerson told industry publication Country Aircheck that he considers Urban’s albums and his live shows to be some of his biggest influences.

“I’ve been a huge fan of his music since Golden Road and ‘Somebody Like You’ came out when I was in high school,” Dickerson said. “I thought, ‘I want to make music that makes people feel something different than the last 150 songs they’ve listened to on the radio.

“I’ve been to at least four Keith Urban concerts in Nashville. And that’s not me being in the industry like, ‘Hey, can you hook me up with tickets?’ It’s like, ‘I’ve got to buy my ticket today because I know it’s going to be an amazing show, front to back.'”

Dickerson has Garth Brooks up on that country music pedestal, too. His Live From Dublin DVD became his Touring 101 textbook before he started playing his own live shows, Dickerson said, and he studied it like a game tape.

“I would watch his energy and how it gives the crowd energy, thinking, “I want that.” He’s obviously playing for thousands of people, but even if I’m in a club with 200 people, I want the same experience,” he said.

Earlier influences — like hearing Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” on the jukebox at a Pizza Hut, and then Tim McGraw’s “Something Like That” when he was just 14 — also made a lasting impression on Dickerson.

And the album he says he played incessantly? That was the Dixie Chicks’ Wide Open Spaces.

“I wore that thing out,” he said.

Enjoy Dickerson’s video for “Yours.”

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