Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

September 13, 2013

Keith Urban pulls in team of 8 producers on 'Fuse'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Keith Urban didn’t need to change a thing.

With an enviable consistency, the “American Idol” judge remains a platinum-selling, arena-filling guitar slinger after spinning hits for 15 years — not to mention the movie-star wife and the Dorian Gray good looks.

Yet when it came time to record his latest album, Urban decided to alter the formula even as he reached new peaks in popularity.

The deluxe version of Urban’s new album, “Fuse,” is stuffed with 16 songs recorded with eight producers from widely different backgrounds.

There are entries from Urban’s longtime collaborator, country hit machine Dann Huff, but also tracks from a menagerie that includes rock and rap mainstay Mike Elizondo, Nashville maverick Jay Joyce, Norwegian hitmakers Stargate, Taylor Swift collaborator Nathan Chapman and rocker Butch Walker.

“I felt like an air traffic controller trying to land 16 planes,” Urban said.

Getting everything down on the tarmac took the 45-year-old Australian a year longer than expected.

It’s been three years since Urban released his last album, and he’s long since missed the perfect marketing window his first year on “Idol” provided.

He initially intended to meet with a large group, then settled on a single producer. Things got out of hand as Urban began to see the possibilities.

“As I started working with different people, they’d bring out different things in me,” Urban said. “I’d play different for Butch Walker than I would for Dann Huff. I’d sing a little different for Stargate than I would for Jay Joyce. So I thought, ‘Let’s just keep going on this a little longer.’”

Urban’s seventh album still sounds very much like a Keith Urban album.

He said his goal wasn’t to have Walker write a rock song, but to meld sounds and ideas to update and diversify his music.

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