Last week, Keith Urban announced new album Graffiti U in a special “pop up” show at Nashville’s Exit/In. While there, Urban treated the packed house to new songs off the record and explained a little bit more about the upcoming album and the world tour behind it. Here’s everything we know about Graffiti U so far.
At the secret show, a huge light fixture with the words “Graffiti U” adorned the back of the stage and lit up when Urban announced the album title. Urban explained the meaning behind the album title in a chat with Rolling Stone.
“The sound of words is a big thing to me,” Urban says. “Ripcord was like that, Fuse was like that. Fuse and Ripcord denoted a certain kind of energy in the word to me.”
But what about the “U,” which is usually most recognized as an abbreviation for “university”?
“I was toying with the letter ‘U,'” Urban says. “Obviously it’s the first letter of my last name, but I liked that when you say it, it’s also the word ‘You.’ For me, that’s the listener, that’s the audience.”
Urban was very careful to note that the album isn’t finished yet. But that’s because he’s been doing nothing but writing and recording since his last tour ended. He wound up with too many songs and is now he’s whittling down the possible tracks.
However, he still wants fans to be able to hear some of those other tracks (can you say “deluxe edition”?). Urban played four brand new songs at the show, so it’s fairly safe to assume those have the best shot of making the record. Those are “Same Heart,” “Texas Time,” “Steal My Thunder” and “Parallel Line.”
Urban officially released “Parallel Line” to streaming services last week. The ballad was a winner at the show, with strong R&B and Ed Sheeran vibes.
It’s unclear whether or not “Female,” the song Urban played at last year’s CMA Awards, will make the cut. While still incredibly relevant and Urban’s contribution to the #MeToo movement, the song may just not fit the record. After all, it was written in early October 2017 and performed to a nationally televised audience only a month later.
Since Urban made it clear he isn’t technically done with the record yet, it makes sense he wouldn’t announce any release date either. But we can probably glean a little info just by looking at his last release.
When Urban released 2016’s Ripcord, he made the announcement in January 2016, just like with Graffiti U. The Ripcord World Tour also began in June 2016, just like the Graffiti U World Tour, which kicks off June 15.
So if Ripcord came out May 6, 2016, we can expect a similar timeframe for Graffiti U.
Urban’s last record featured a relatively unheard of number of producer’s for a country album with 10 credited producers, including Urban himself. As Urban continually explores crossover tunes and genre-bending songs, expect something similar with Graffiti U.
Longtime collaborator Dan Huff, who worked on “Female,” will almost certainly be involved again. Likewise, Urban certainly earns production credits. And if he brings in any other collaborations, like on Ripcord, those contributors usually earn production credit.
So what does it all mean? Expect a wide-ranging record that explores plenty of sonic realms instead of the traditional “one producer, one vision” approach that country albums traditionally take.
Urban announced a nearly 60-date tour at the same time he announced the record. Fittingly dubbed the Graffiti U World Tour, Urban hits just about every corner of the United States on the summer through fall trek.
He also has a few Canada dates lined up. If the tour follows the last trek, he may announce a few dates in Australia/Oceania near the end of the year.
Urban is bringing Kelsea Ballerini along for the ride so fans should expect the pair to team up at least once during the concert set list. In addition to Ballerini, don’t be surprised if another opener joins the tour before the whole thing kicks off.
June 15 – St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
June 16 – Indianapolis, IN @ Ruoff Home Mortage Music Center
June 22 – Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
June 23 – Pittsburgh, PA @ KeyBank Pavilion
June 27 – Saratoga Springs, NY @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center
June 29 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
June 30 – Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
July 5 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of NH Pavilion
July 6 – Gilford, NH @ Bank of NH Pavilion
July 8 – Canandaigua, NY @ CMAC
July 13 – Salt Lake City, UT @ USANA Amphitheatre
July 14 – Denver, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
July 15 – Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
July 20 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
July 21 – Lake Tahoe, NV @ Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys
July 22 – Lake Tahoe, NV @ Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys
July 27 – Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
July 28 – Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
July 29 – Alpharetta, GA @ Verizon Amphitheatre
Aug. 3 – Philadelphia, PA @ BB&T Pavilion
Aug. 4 – Mansfield, MA @ Xfinity Center
Aug. 5 – Bangor, ME @ Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
Aug. 10 – Cleveland, OH @ Blossom Music Center
Aug. 11 – Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
Aug. 12 – Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
Aug. 15 – Rogers, AR @ Walmart AMP
Aug. 17 – Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
Aug. 18 – Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Aug. 19 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
Aug. 24 – Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
Aug. 25 – Orange Beach, AL @ The Wharf Amphitheater
Aug. 26 – Tuscaloosa, AL @ Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
Sept. 7 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
Sept. 8 – Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena
Sept. 14 – Ottawa, ON @ Canadian Tire Centre
Sept. 15 – London, ON @ Budweiser Gardens
Sept. 19 – Winnipeg, MB @ Bell MTS Place
Sept. 21 – Saskatoon, SK @ SaskTel Centre
Sept. 22 – Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place
Sept. 23 – Calgary, AB @ ScotiaBank Saddledome
Sept. 25 – Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena
Sept. 27 – Eugene, OR @ Matthew Knight Arena
Sept. 28 – Boise, ID @ Taco Bell Arena
Sept. 29 – Missoula, MT @ Adams Center
Oct. 4 – Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
Oct. 5 – Laughlin, NV @ Laughlin Event Center
Oct. 12 – Peoria, IL @ Peoria Civic Center
Oct. 13 – Minneapolis, MN @ Target Center
Oct. 14 – Grand Forks, ND @ Ralph Engelstad Arena
Oct. 18 – Toledo, OH @ Huntington Center
Oct. 19 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Van Andel Arena
Oct. 20 – Louisville, KY @ KFC Yum! Center
Oct. 24 – Youngstown, OH @ Covelli Centre
Oct. 25 – Hershey, PA @ Giant Center
Oct. 27 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
Oct. 28 – Charlottesville, VA @ John Paul Jones Arena
Nov. 1 – Little Rock, AR @ Verizon Arena
Nov. 2 – New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center
Nov. 3 – Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center