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Keith Urban

Keith Urban grew up in Australia with parents who loved American culture, especially country music. The first records he heard were by Charley Pride, Dolly Parton, Don Williams and Jim Reeves. He picked up a guitar at age 6 and knew by 7 that he would go to Nashville to play country music. By age 8, he was winning country music talent shows and had steady work in a band as a teenager. After hearing the music of Dire Straits, he bought the band's albums and learned every song note by note. He began to throw what he learned into his solos onstage. The resulting fusion of rock-style guitar work with country music has become Urban's signature style.

In 1988, Urban formed a three-piece band whose distinctive take on country music led to solid success in Australia. After charting four No. 1 country singles there, he made the move to Nashville. Once in Music City, he formed another three-piece band, The Ranch. The trio's live shows caused a buzz in town, eventually leading to a deal with Capitol Nashville and a self-titled album in 1997. Critics raved about the album's unique take on country music and Urban's virtuoso guitar playing. Other artists also took notice, and when the group disbanded, they called on Urban to add some of his fleet-fingered magic to their records. Garth Brooks asked Urban to play on Double Live, and the Dixie Chicks invited him to play on Fly.

Urban released his debut self-titled album in 2000 on Capitol Nashville. Despite his somewhat grungy look, he was gradually accepted at radio with "It's a Love Thing," "Your Everything" and the No. 1 "But for the Grace of God." (The latter was written by Urban and two members of the Go-Gos.) He toured with Brooks & Dunn's Neon Circus in early 2001 and won the CMA Horizon award later that year.

Urban finished 2002 on a high note. "Somebody Like You," the first single from his album Golden Road spent six weeks at No. 1, and the video featured supermodel Niki Taylor. In 2003, another single from the album, "Who Wouldn't Want to Be Me," also reached No. 1.

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