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On a balmy fall evening, Aussie Keith Urban played a powerhouse set of his fine, rocking originals on top of the roof of the biggest building on Music Row. With the twinkling skyline of Nashville as a backdrop, Urban sang out sweetly, savoring the feeling of having his first hit single in the US.

It's been a long slow climb for the movie-star-handsome singer, songwriter and ace axe slinger. He left his native Australia in 1989, bound for Nashville with dreams of music stardom on his mind. He was leaving a successful career behind, having been signed to EMI Records and being something of a national guitar hero.

But the US was ground zero, and Urban started from scratch, getting a publishing deal and playing once a week with his band The Ranch at a funky place called Jack's Guitar Bar on the outskirts of town. The Ranch eventually got a deal, releasing a CD in 1997, but it was never the smash hit they had hoped for and the band broke up.

Eighteen months later, Urban landed a solo deal with Capitol. Soon Urban was opening shows for Dwight Yoakam, Tim McGraw and Chely Wright. By this summer, he had a Top 5 hit with the sultry "Your Everything". The bittersweet video was shot at the art deco Avalon Hotel in Los Angeles, a swanky joint where Marilyn Monroe used to stay.

At last, Urban is becoming a genuine star, beginning to make his mark on the country music scene. / Issue 10 - September 2018
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