On this day in 2000, Keith Urban made his Grand Ole Opry debut as a solo artist. He first played the radio show as a sideman in 1997, backing up fellow Aussie Slim Dusty with the rest of his short-lived power trio, the Ranch. Three years later, the Ranch had dissolved and Urban had launched his own career, scoring a Top 10 country hit — and an invitation to revisit the Opry, this time as a singer — with his first single, “Your Everything.”
Urban played “Your Everything” that night, kicking off a longstanding relationship with the Grand Ole Opry that now includes an official membership and several dozen performances. Early Opry visits show a rough-around-the-edges Urban strumming hits like “But for the Grace of God” alone, accompanied only by the guitar chops that earned him session work with Charlie Daniels Band, Garth Brooks and the Dixie Chicks during those years in Nashville. [Watch a 2001 performance of “But for the Grace of God” — coincidentally taped at the Ryman Auditorium, also known as the Mother Church of country music — above.]
An Australian who still owns a home in Sydney, Urban remains the Opry’s only official member to be born outside of North America.