Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston and Jeffrey Steele didn’t write “Raise ‘Em Up,” the fifth single from Keith Urban’s Fuse album, as a duet. But when Urban first heard the tune, he immediately heard himself singing it with an old friend.
“There’s a particular theme… particularly in the second verse, that I thought was perfect for Eric [Church],” says the singer, who calls his Capitol Nashville labelmate’s 2012 album, Chief, “one of my favorite records of easily the last 10 years.”
While crafting Fuse, Urban sent the song to his fellow country star, who very rarely cuts anything he didn’t pen himself, and as expected it resonated with him.
“My first thought was, ‘I wish I’d written it,'” Church admits. “And I wished that because I feel like we did. If we sat down and wrote a song, it would be that kind of song. It’s artistic and has a lot of depth, but it’s about something so universal.”
Universal and multifaceted. As depicted in the song’s brand-new lyric video, making its exclusive debut on Rolling Stone Country, the tune toasts everything from young love to patriotism to parenthood. As the song’s rousing words flash on the screen, so do fireworks, a young father holding a baby, couples holding hands and a ton of smiles. (Watch above.)
“When you get a song like that, the key is to try to take that song to a place that, when the songwriters envision that song, maybe they hadn’t conceived yet,” says Church. “For Keith and I, it was about taking a great song and doing all we could to deliver that song, but at the same time maybe add to it and take it to a whole different level.”
Urban and Church’s “Raise ‘Em Up” was nominated at last night’s Grammy Awards for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, but lost to the Band Perry’s cover of Glen Campbell’s “Gentle on My Mind.” The duet partners both graced the Grammy stage, with Urban introducing Church’s “Give Me Back My Hometown” performance, and giving a shout-out to his friend’s very pregnant wife, Katherine, who’s due to give birth to their second son next week.