Keith Urban says playing his new single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” at the Ryman Auditorium in February was a spontaneous decision. At first, he didn’t realize he had a hit on his hands, but then he did something most fans assume an artist never does.

Urban went online and watched YouTube video recorded during the acoustic performance of the song. “I couldn’t really hear the audience on stage,” he explains in the video above (at 4:25), “but when someone sent me a YouTube clip … the camera is in the audience so I could hear the audience much more when I hear these YouTube clips and I can hear them react to the song.”

He couldn't ignore the overwhelming, positive response from a crowd full of industry veterans — often a tough crowd to please.

Of the album, Urban says "it’s a work in progress," and not much more. But he indicates it a long way away from being finished, and like his previous eight albums, will be authentic, “capturing where I’m at.” As of now there are no collaborations scheduled, although he has a few people in mind. And once again he’s looking for the next generation of songwriters, or at least writers he’s yet to work with.

“I’m always looking for new people to create with,” Urban tells Taste of Country during this Country Jam 2015 interview. “I did it with Fuse and I’m doing it with this record as well.” Remember that Sam Hunt was unknown singer-songwriter when Urban recorded Fuse. Today, he’s one of the hottest newcomers in the business.

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