“There are artists coming into the genre now who grew up with Eminem as well as George Strait, and Beastie Boys as well as Alabama. There’s a gumbo that can be made from all that,” Keith Urban tells Rolling Stone Country in a new Ram Report interview taped at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
Urban was at the Hall to take in his new showcase exhibit Keith Urban So Far. . ., a collection of musical memorabilia spanning his already accomplished career. Afterward, he weighed in on the evolution of country music, a topic that can often lead to debates about the authenticity of today’s music. For his part, Urban comes out on the side of experimentation.
“The evolution of country music interests me, fascinates me. Because it’s a resilient genre that always manages to allow for experimentation, that sometimes goes overboard, goes too far, loses its identity,” he says. “And then it’s able to recalibrate and pull it back. But in the process of pulling it back, it’s not where it used to be. It’s moved on. And it stays relevant and it stays connected to the tradition.”
Urban is currently recording his eighth studio album, titled Ripcord, set for release sometime next year. He says he often steps aside and allows the songs to dictate the direction of the complete album. “I think songs tend to tell you which ones constitute a record. They feel right. But obviously from my point too, I want to represent a particular theme,” he says. “I just let the music talk really. It’s much better at it than I am.”