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It was a packed house at Nashville restaurant Cabana Wednesday afternoon (June 22) to celebrate Keith Urban’s latest chart-topper, “Without You.” Keith joined the song’s creators, Dave Pahanish and Joe West, along with a throng of industry executives and supporters. The song’s intimate lyrics of how family and children have changed a man’s life resonated deeply with Keith, who has two daughters of his own. “First of all, I love this song,” Keith told reporters. “I wasn’t recording it because I thought it’d be a hit. It moved me and touched me. I couldn’t believe how it captured my life so beautifully. It’s rare to hear a song where every lyric is poignant for me and yet I didn’t have to change anything. They could have even said in the song along comes a baby boy and I would’ve had to change it, but they didn’t, it was a girl, and so it was just remarkable to hear that. I couldn’t wait to get into the studio and see if I could get myself around it.”
Singer/songwriters Emily West (who first introduced Keith to the song “Without You”) and Sarah Buxton attended, as did Keith’s wife, Nicole Kidman. Keith, Dave and Joe accepted commemorative trinkets and praise from the Country Music Association, Capitol Records and BMI. Three River Music co-founder Cole Wright was armed with a couple of presents for Keith and Three River Music writer Dave Pahanish. Cole presented Keith with a ring that contained three birthstones—one for Keith’s wife, Nicole, and two stones for daughters Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret. He also presented songwriter Dave Pahanish with a 50th anniversary Stratocaster.
Keith surprised the standing-room-only crowd with a performance of “Without You.” Following the lyric Along comes a baby girl / And suddenly my little world / Got a whole lot bigger, he added “because there were two,” referring to Sunday Rose and Faith Margaret. Then Keith turned and sang the last verse directly to Nicole, creating a special moment for the audience. “The song was written from such a beautiful, pure place, you can tell it’s not a quota song for the piece. Tt’s an inspirational, inspired song,” said Keith, “and the purity of that would be the thing that touches people. From a metaphoric standpoint, people will have their own ‘fast cars,’ their own ‘guitars,’ their own things that wouldn’t matter without that someone.”
Keith kicked off the American leg of his Get Closer 2011 World Tour recently and said it’s still a work in progress. “It’s an evolutionary process, touring. There’s always finessing, tweaking and tinkering to be done, but so far, so good.” With a wife and two daughters at home, Keith said his touring strategy is now healthier for him, his family and his fans. “I structure my tours so I’m gone only three or four days and then I’m home for a short period. But I just won’t go out for weeks and weeks. There’s just no need for me to do that. I like coming home. I think the balance is good for everything. It’s not just about my family being able to see me; I want to see my family. I want to spend time with them, too. For me, my experience has been that the shows benefit greatly from it, 'cause every time I’m onstage, that’s where I want to be. Sometimes you go out for weeks or months, there’s a certain point where you’re just phoning it in a bit, going through the motions. The audience is not winning and everybody’s losing. I think for the sake of everybody, it’s great to find that balance between being home and then when I’m on the road that’s really where I want to be.”
Contributions were also given to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the American Diabetes Foundation in honor of the songwriters.