Toby Keith Praises Keith Urban’s Country Roots
"I don't know the music culture here, other than hanging out with Keith, but I know his love for American country music is probably what drove him to come and be part of it," he tells Australia's Sunday Morning Herald.
The Oklahoma native says Urban worked hard to integrate into the American culture, while still embracing his Australian heritage.
"His love for country music exceeds everything else," Keith adds. "If he does an interview, he knows who Glen Campbell [or] Steve Wariner is, who knows the guys who were before him: [Johnny Cash] and Willie [Nelson]."
Keith's compliments of Urban came after Australia's John Williamson, singer-songwriter and former head of the Country Music Association of Australia, claimed Australia was “hell-bent on producing more Keith Urbans," and that their "Golden Guitar Awards are the American Country Music Awards of Australia." But while the words might sound harsh, the 'Drinks After Work' singer admitted Williamson's words had some merit.
"You ought to have your own independence, you shouldn't just do what the US does," he urges. "I think you should be proud of your heritage [in music]."
Keith may not know much about the Australian culture, but he says he always seeks out the Australian troops while on his USO tours -- and not just to spread goodwill.
"I would find the Australian flag [because] I knew the Australians would have beer, so I would go there and they'd say, 'Yeah mate, come in, here we go,'" he says. "So I drank whatever beer they had."
The North American leg of Keith's Shut Up & Hold On Tour, which includes his daughter, Krystal Keith, and Colt Ford as his opening acts, kicks off on March 22 in Melbourne, Fla. See a list of upcoming shows here.