The title of Keith Urban’s second solo album, Golden Road, is truly appropriate, as he seems to be moving along a path paved in gold. The album was certified just that before it had been out eight weeks, mostly on the strength of the record’s first single, “Somebody Like You,” which held the top spot last year for eight weeks. The song is also reaching a wider audience as a Top 40/AC remix single from the soundtrack of the Kate Hudson/Matthew McConaghey film, How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days.
The album continues to sell well as word gets around that Keith Urban — the 2001 ACM New Male Vocalist, CMA Horizon Award winner, Grammy nominee and one of the beauties included in People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive issue — is more than just a pretty face. And Golden Road is more than just a fine follow-up to his self-titled solo debut, which sported the BMI Country Award-winning “But For the Grace of God.”
An admitted personal album, Golden Road reveals a depth of character and breadth of artistry few ever achieve. Though the last few years of his life may have felt anything but golden, the Australian’s trials and tribulations have yielded poignant material — and the courage to share those songs with the masses. The break-up of a long-time love affair inspired “Somebody Like You”; recovery from cocaine addiction yielded “You’re Not My God”; and his spirituality gave birth to the comforting “You’re Not Alone Tonight.”
But there’s plenty of feel-good fare here too, which tells us that amid such an emotional time, Urban still has a firm grasp on living happily within a challenged life and what it takes to make a great record. “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me” is an exhilarating road song. A sparse, grooving cover of David Dundas’s “Jeans On,” which Urban calls “a back-porch acoustic-guitar stomp,” delights; and the plaintive “Raining on Sunday,” his current single, flashes a sultry, vivid picture of romance. Everywhere on Golden Road we’re treated to both his signature ganjo, a six-string guitar/banjo hybrid, as well his blistering guitar.
Given the weighty and the fun, Golden Road is an affirmation of walking a real life’s path, and Urban says he’s grateful to still be able to count himself among the seekers. What he’s looking for, he says, is Peace. And yes, he’s found it, but tends to lose it, too. “Or,” he explains, “some songwriters would say that you purposely throw it away so you can go find it again. And therein lies art.”
It’s an art that has this singularly talented artist as busy as a blossoming star can be, with appearances on nearly every national television show, and a full tour schedule for the year. And while he isn’t complaining, Urban has a simple desire of the moment.
“I’d like to get back to the writing,” he says. “Writing can be really a strange process. To find a point of view, the melody, just . . . find me; try to find me.”