Keith Urban was mostly tight-lipped about his upcoming eighth studio album Ripcord, due sometime in 2016, while debuting his new exhibit, Keith Urban So Far… at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. But he did reveal he's deep in the creative process and will start whittling down potential songs for the project.
"Ideally, I like to record them and get them fully finished, if that's 17, 18, 20 songs. I think songs tend to tell you which ones constitute a record. They feel right," Urban tells Rolling Stone Country. "But obviously from my point too, I want to represent a particular theme. . . It's an odd thing. It's like describing a color. It's a bit elusive. I just let the music talk really. It's much better at it than I am."
Urban, a champion of the Hall of Fame with his regular All 4 the Hall concerts, was overwhelmed by the exhibits the Hall's staff uncovered for the showcase. A postcard written from a young Keith to his parents was especially revealing, as were the often outrageous stage clothes his dad helped him make to look the part of an entertainer.
In the end, though, the exhibit is one of the most music-based to come through the museum. A wealth of Urban's guitars, including some damaged in the 2010 Nashville flood, are arranged prominently behind glass. But while the "Break on Me" singer may go first to that instrument when in the studio, he admits that nothing is off the table.
"When Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley were putting lush orchestras on Jim Reeves records and Patsy Cline records, there's nothing country about that. It's not a fiddle. It's a big stack of violins and it's lush. Where's the pedal steel? Where's the fiddle? Where's the banjo? But it was this incredible Countrypolitan sound," he says. "That's what I love about the genre. It's always found ways to push out of its comfort zone and try new things and, in the process, keep the genre moving forward."