Keith Urban and the WCU drumline … go figure

Country star Keith Urban plays a show at Greenville, S.C.‘s Bi-Lo Center tomorrow, Thursday, December 6. His Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy World Tour (with Gary Allan opening) is no bargain matinee, with tickets running $20-$55, though rumors abound that the show is sold out (the Bi-lO Center’s website shows a few tickets still available at $55.50 plus a $9.60 service charge).

Still, Urban is a bit of a catch for the arena, which also boasts the less-than-high-profile Monster Jam, Ringling Brothers Circus and the Doodlebops Live among upcoming offerings. For country music fans, Urban is an anomaly. First, he’s got one foot in the humble, folksy world of Nashville sounds and one foot in the red carpet and glam world of Hollywood (his wife is actress Nicole Kidman). Secondly, Urban — country music’s shaggy haired, stylized pop crossover poster boy — is from New Zealand. How does that even happen? Sure, country music is big down under, but how can a Kiwi pull off the music that is so quintessentially down-home American?

But somehow he did it. Without wearing a ten-gallon hat, mind you. Fifteen years ago, Urban moved the Nashville and landed gigs backing Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson. Then (according to Wikipedia) he got into coke (obviously he didn’t get the memo about Jack Daniels and tears in his beers) before cleaning up and releasing a solo debut that garnered him five hits. That was in 1999. Then he did some more un-Country things like model for Gap, tour with pop-rocker Bryan Adams, marry an actress and come off with that bed head hairstyle that inspired Billy Ray Cyrus to lose the mullet (Cyrus has since claimed he “wants his mullet back,” but his stylists aren’t cooperating).

Now, in Greenville, Urban is upping the not-so-country ante by inviting — no, not a local gospel group or 4-H club — but an area marching band on stage. The 33-member Western Carolina University drumline will perform one song on stage with the country star. The story recently aired on WLOS.

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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