Although his debut album produced the number-one single "But for the Grace of God," it was the ubiquitous single "Somebody Like You," which Billboard named country song of the decade 2000-2009, that established Keith Urban as one of country music's most explosive forces.
As Urban gears up for not only his second go-around as a judge on American Idol, he is also prepping the release of his first studio album in nearly three years, Fuse, as well as getting ready to hit the road with Little Big Town and hot newcomer Dustin Lynch for the 2013 "Light the Fuse Tour."
Urban previewed the show when he lit the fuse on his busy schedule Friday night in Nashville. Performing an intimate show along the Cumberland River for hardcore fans and industry heavy-hitters, Urban's set included number-one hits as well as a sneak peek at some of the album's new tracks.
Joined by his band mates, Urban opened the show with an old-fashioned jam session before roaring into hit-single "Long Hot Summer." After a few more crowd-pleasing favorites, Urban performed songs from the new album including; "Cop Car," "Good Thing" and "Somewhere in My Car".
Urban has acknowledged working with a wide range of producers on the upcoming album including hitmaker Butch Walker (Taylor Swift, P!nk, Jennifer Nettles) as well as pop stalwarts Stargate (Beyonce, Ne-Yo).
"This album started with me wanting to work with people I hadn’t worked with before," said the multi-platinum singer/songwriter. "I wanted to start in completely uncharted waters. I didn’t set out for there to be eight different producers—I thought I would find one or two guys and then we’d go make the whole album. But I loved how everybody brought out something different in me, and I wanted to see how much was in there to come out."
One of those tracks, the uptempo love song "Even the Stars Fall for You," is sure to be released as a single in the coming months. Urban dedicated the song during his Friday night performance to his "sweet Nic and baby girls."
Now what would a Nashville show be without a few surprises? Urban was joined on stage by fellow labelmate Eric Church to perform their Fuse collaboration “Raise Em’ Up." The song, a soon-to-be-anthem for the young and ambitious, invites listeners to stand proud for their beliefs and never let anyone tell them they cannot achieve success.
Urban’s 55-minute set kept the fans, which came as far as England, on their feet and was jammed packed with nothing but music. He noted, “I really don’t wanna spend too much time talking; I want you guys to hear this album since you all gave up your Friday night to spend it with me.”
And it wasn't only those lucky fans along the river who got to spend their night with Urban.
Even though those fans on the river stood on their feet yelling and applauding for Urban to return for a much anticipated encore, he quickly exited the stage and hopped in a black SUV. Destination? A few of the honky-tonk bars on Lower Broadway.
Urban performed for fans at The Stage, Legends Corner and the world-famous Tootsie's. The latter performance was marked by a surprise for Urban himself when Aerosmith lead singer (and former Idol judge himself) Steven Tyler joined Urban on stage for a special performance of the Aerosmith hit "Walk This Way."
While Friday night's initial performance was streamed live, fans can catch it again when The Yahoo! Music Ram Country performance streams again on September 25 here.