Stamped hands, bar bands and fake IDs all figure into Keith Urban’s new song “We Were.” A slice of earnest nostalgia, the vibey mid-tempo ballad yearns for those romances that we all know won’t last but are essential to our formative years.
Urban runs through a roster of vivid imagery — leather jackets on a Harley; feet hanging over the edge of a water tower; a car parked discreetly with the top down in a remote field — selling each snapshot with his understated phrasing. But “We Were” also succeeds thanks to Urban’s fluid guitar playing. Listen to the way his solo connects the present with the past, as it winds its way through memory after memory.
Nostalgic songs are a dime a dozen in country music. Fortunately, “We Were” — written by Ryan Tyndell, Jeff Hyde and country superstar Eric Church — looks back from a different angle, one where the narrator is content with his life today, but still can’t help miss who he was then, with the one that got away.
“I like the idea that life just happens,” says Urban in a statement. “At some point, whether in the moment or not, you just gotta go with it.”
The follow-up to Graffiti U‘s “Never Comin’ Down,” “We Were” is the latest single for Urban, who was named Entertainer of the Year by both the CMA and the ACM. He’s set to perform at a number of festivals this summer, including September’s Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin, Tennessee.
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During April’s ACM Awards in Las Vegas, Urban performed his version of Irish songwriter Foy Vance’s “Burden” and released a studio version of the uplifting song a few days later. On Tuesday, he shared a video of he and Vance performing the song together.