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By any measure, Keith Urban already possesses virtually every honor granted in the country music realm. As Country Music Alley chronicled in 2020, the New Zealand-born Australian-American propelled his dreams of becoming both the CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year into reality through this unquenchable spirit and sparkling talent in song and on anything with strings. Nothing has been a given during Keith Urban’s remarkable career trajectory.
When it came to his latest accolade, however, Keith Urban admits to being decidedly “shocked” and stunned at the invitation to join his “brother[s] from another mother,” Kix Brooks, Casey Beathard, Rafe Van Hoy, David Lee Murphy, and John Jarrard (sadly passed since 2001) as the newest class of inductees to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2023.
Regarding the luminaries of country music who offered his induction, though, Keith Urban had no doubt about the “peerless” Dolly Parton doing the honors, as American Songwriter per MSN confirms. In his typical exuberant style, Urban responded in gratitude and grace.
Dolly doesn’t just get a phone call
“There was only one person on my list,” Keith Urban explained in the American Songwriter interview backstage before the ceremony, “and it was Dolly.”
No matter what modern technology devices deem appropriate, Keith Urban knows what manners are. Instead of punching in a quick text or making a call (which, as Reba McEntire understands is futile, since Dolly Parton prefers fax), Keith thoughtfully crafted and sent a handwritten letter to the country music marvel.
“You’ve always been a Northern Star to me, and you still are,” Urban extols in his message. “Thank you for that,” Keith Urban continues, before elaborating “Thank you for not just signing off and drifting off into the fields.”
Furthermore, in conclusion, Keith Urban lauds how “she stayed hungry and passionate and curious and all the things that inspire me,” in his unparalleled mentor. Naturally, of course, fans still feel the same fire in the Wild Hearts artist. Even with his beautiful bride of 17 years, Nicole Kidman, savoring the ceremony alongside younger daughter, Faith Margaret, 12, from the front row, it’s hard to know if there’s more tribute to Dolly Parton or the new inductee.
Dolly takes her turn
“Because she’s peerless,” Keith Urban replies after recalling how Dolly Parton’s Applejack, her ballad in tribute to a unique Smoky Mountain neighbor, still touches him today. Accordingly, “the boy from Brissy” credits Parton not only for the gumption to perform on his own through his younger years, but her example to stay hungry as a creative force through seven decades.
With characteristic Dolly Parton gusto, the one and only from Keith Urban’s list exclaimed, “Now, who don’t love Keith Urban?” as her opener. “I’ve never seen a person with everything,” Dolly details, mentioning how the honoree is “so good-looking” and “so nice and so kind” apart and above being “an unbelievable musician, same as performer.”
Is there a kitchen in Keith and Dolly’s future?
As it happens, Keith Urban and Dolly Parton combined artistic forces for Parton’s Those Were The Days album in 2005. Not surprisingly, country fans feel their rendition of The Twelfth Of Never rivals those of Johnny Mathis and Donnie Osmond. The two also performed alongside Vince Gill on the George Jones classic, He Stopped Loving Her Today, for a benefit for the Country Music Museum and Hall of Fame in 2010.
Their musical gifts notwithstanding, Dolly Parton dreams of sharing something more than harmonies with Keith Urban– she wants to share the kitchen!
In a Taste Of Country video from last year, Dolly Parton was as serious as a Bundt cake about an afternoon of music and baking with Keith Urban! Lovingly, the My Tennessee Mountain Home songwriter declares that Urban “reminds me so much of my brothers and my own family from back home.” Never mind hailing from “down under,” Dolly insists since Keith shares the “feel of our mountain southern people. “He’d fit right in!”
“I’d be happy to make a big ole cake for him and spend all afternoon singing songs,” Dolly’s dream day proceeds.
Hold on, Dolly– one dream at a time for now. You just gave Keith Urban a lifetime dream, so maybe your fantasy kitchen fun will come next!
What recipe would you like to see Keith Urban and Dolly Parton create? Let us know in the comments.