Early in his Season 13 run on FOX’s “American Idol,” judge Keith Urban also has his eye on another of television’s biggest music showcases.
A winner of four Grammy Awards, the country superstar could earn another of the statues — along with Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift — as CBS broadcasts the 56th annual event Sunday (Jan. 26). They’re nominated collectively for best country duo/group performance for “Highway Don’t Care,” which reached No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s country airplay chart last June.
“It’s such an unusual feeling for me to have a Grammy nomination for playing a guitar solo,” Urban tells Zap2it, “and I’m very, very grateful for that. When Tim sent me the song, he said, ‘Would you just blow out a little solo on this thing?’
“I thought the song sounded amazing, and I loved how organic and simple the whole thing was. Tim just called me and said, ‘Would you play on it?’ I said, ‘Send it over.’ He did, I went in the studio with it, played the solo and sent it over to him, hoping he’d like it.”
Urban was pleased that McGraw “loved it, they put the record out, and it was all just fluid and smooth. I think the fact that it succeeded in that way is particularly gratifying.”
Along with McGraw — and many other stars Swift has worked with, including McGraw’s wife Faith Hill, Brad Paisley and George Strait — Urban was part of the Pinnacle Award career tribute to her at last November’s CMA Awards, which made her only the second recipient of that honor (after Garth Brooks, in 2005).
“She’s come in and just lit a total fire under the genre,” Urban says of Swift, who along with Urban will perform on the Grammys. “Whatever anybody wants to make of it, we need people to come along and spark a revolution and evolution and expansion. We’ve needed those people since the beginning of country music, and Taylor is just of her time, perfectly.”