Sometimes the jokes just write themselves.

This is one of those times:

A total of 55 arrests and 46 medical incidents, including 22 people transported to hospitals, marred a Keith Urban concert event in Mansfield, Massachusetts Saturday (7-26) night at the Xfinity Center as part of his “Raise ‘Em Up” tour….

The Mansfield Police Department said many individuals became ill at the Keith Urban concert due to excessive alcohol consumption.

Like I said elsewhere, somehow it fits, because under the influence is just about the only way one could possibly enjoy Urban’s special brand of elevator music. On the other hand, I could probably go to a Keith Urban show blasted out of my mind on 200 proof pure grain alcohol and still find myriad things wrong with it.

Of course, the Urban fans showed up in the comments to defend their hero as, among other things, “an exceptional guitar player and singer-songwriter.”

And I’m like, y’know, what the hell ever. Maybe I am biased because of the fact that what I’ve heard from Keith Urban is pretty much the musical equivalent of mystery meat casserole — it’s a little bit of everything, which translates to a whole lot of nothing, or elevator music if you like — but it strikes me that, just as the case is with Brad Paisley, whatever talent Urban allegedly possesses is blown up all out of proportion to justify his place in country music.  It seems like that’s always the direction the conversation goes:

“Keith Urban sucks.”

“Nuh-uh! He’s a great guitar player!”

You know who else is a great guitar player? Eddie Van Halen. Does that make him country?

In all seriousness, Keith Urban’s guitar skills would actually mean something if he was just playing guitar as opposed to trying to be a star in his own right. But that’s not what he’s doing, so here we are. And I’m just not seeing it. He’s an at-best competent vocalist and songwriter who doesn’t give a shit about country music beyond his ability to make money marketing his music as that, which more or less renders the whole guitar thing moot. It’s just the strangest thing. Country music has no shortage of talented instrumentalists — Jerry Reed, Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Keith Whitley, and the list goes on.

And none of them ever had to have their place in country music justified by their instrumental talents. There’s a reason for that.



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