Keith Urban

Keith Urban

This is the big breakout from the Aussie who pushed country out of its comfort zone. Blending banjo and steel guitar with hip-hop-influenced beats was still radical when Urban did it, in 1999, on “It’s a Love Thing”. Meanwhile, one of the album’s most traditional-sounding country tunes, “But for the Grace of God”, was cowritten by Urban and two members of The Go-Go’s; the high-octane, twang-soaked instrumental “Rollercoaster” puts the focus on his underappreciated guitar gifts. But that supple, emotion-packed voice holds it all together, whichever stylistic route Urban takes.

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