Living the Dream

Apparently, Keith Urban has nothing to complain about.


On Sunday, he earned the Jim Reeves International Award during the Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand.

The award honors him for spreading country music around the world, sort of making him country music's ambassador to Earth.

He wishes more country artists toured internationally. They did more often when Urban, 42, was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s.

"Country artists were touring internationally all the time. Even in Australia, the first concerts I went to were Johnny Cash, and Tom T. Hall, and Charlie Pride and Glen Campbell.

"All these people were coming down there regularly. So maybe we'll get back to more international touring, because I know a lot of people would like to see all the main artists."

But this weekend, he's taking it to the Hard Rock's Joint.

"We've got a smaller band this time around, which I'm looking forward to. We're just a four-piece this time, instead of a six-piece."

He moved to a four-piece after playing as a foursome recently and loving it.

"It certainly gives us a lot more space, and we can rearrange the songs a little bit, too, to give them a new lease on life.

"The bottom line is, when you've got a killer rhythm section -- bass, drums and a solid rhythm (guitar) player like I have in my band -- we don't need a whole lot more else."


Wife Nicole Kidman joined Urban for Sunday's awards. It was their first trip here since February, when they rode the Zero Gravity Corporation's Zero Flight at the Signature Terminal at McCarran International Airport.

"She saw it in a magazine and said, 'Oh, that'd be fun to do.' So for Christmas, I just bought us the experience," he says. "It was a blast."

First, they boarded this "bizarre-lookin' reconfigured customized plane," he says.

The plane obviously traveled high enough to get out of gravitational pull.

"Then when it tapers off and starts a descent, there's a moment there where there's complete weightlessness in the plane."

The weightlessness lasts just 20 to 30 seconds. But the plane enters zero-gravity 12 or 14 times, he says.

"When you're floating in the air, and you can do somersaults and back flips, it's a pretty wild experience."

He squeezed in one somersault.

"I've got to say I got a little queasy about the seventh or eighth time. I was ready to be done with it," he says and laughs.

To float without gravity, you definitely have to have a strong stomach.

"Mine's OK, it's not great. But if someone's got a strong stomach, I'd recommend it."

Kidman did great, he says.

They do up Vegas.

"We like coming down and seeing some of the shows. We were there about a year back to see 'Love,' " he says. "We go occasionally just to have a bit of fun.

" 'O' is fantastic. A lot of those Cirque du Soleil shows are great, of course. But we want to get back and see some of the old-school stuff as well, which we haven't had a chance to do.

"When we were there last time, Wayne Newton was playing, and I wanted to go -- just to check it off the list, you know?"


His daughter, Sunday Rose Kidman Urban, "might have some singing capability," but she's a little young for him to know yet: She turns 2 in July.

"She certainly has a chance at being slightly musical, coming from both of us," he says.

He won't try to push Sunday to be a musician. He'll wait to see if she gravitates to it.

"There's no shortage of instruments around the house, which is really cool," Urban says.

"We've got pianos and guitars and all sorts of rhythmic things -- things to bang on -- tambourines and maracas and things like that.

"If she's got an inclination toward that, she'll definitely have plenty of opportunity."

Like any father would tell you, parenthood "changed everything" for him.

"There's just a sense there's other things in this world than ourselves. There's just a more enriched sense of purpose, and an expansion of my understanding of love.

"I don't know what would prepare you for it," he says of parenthood. "I mean, what's it like? But I love fatherhood -- absolutely love it. I'm grateful it happened for me."

Contact Doug Elfman at He blogs at