Keith Urban Takes a Visual Trip in ‘John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16′ Video
The clip opens with Urban by himself, and interestingly, he's playing bass instead of his usual six-string guitar, delivering the funky opening riff before diving into the lyrics. The country superstar performs solo against a stark backdrop, and he's also wearing muted colors. A red microphone on the stand in front of him breaks the understated scene as he begins the first verse.
That soon changes, though, as the clip begins to shift rapidly between a dizzying collage of images that mirror the rush-and-tumble of the song's lyrical themes. The images flash back and forth between Urban delivering an energetic performance by himself at the mic, while urban cityscapes, train tracks, small towns, cars, a laundromat, a pay phone and a church alternately weave in and out of the scenery. The visually inventive video also includes an old phonograph and a classic, old-time microphone.
Shot in Nashville in July by ACM and CMA Award-winning director Shane Drake, it's an apt visual representation of one of the most interesting and well-written songs currently at country radio.
"It was a blast," Urban says in an introduction he posted about the new video. He had worked with Drake on Tim McGraw's "Highway Don't Care" video, but had never collaborated with him on a full video shoot of his own.
"I really loved working with him," he says. "It was a fun video to do. It was challenging, because we didn't want it to be a hundred percent literal about every lyric. That was the most important thing for me ... I like everybody to be able to paint their own picture of things, so there's sort of more random imagery, I guess, of certain things that relate to the song, without it being so specific."
"John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" is the result of a collaboration between Ross Copperman, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, three of the top songwriters in Nashville, and the lyrics reference a long list of cultural touchstones that include Elvis, John Wayne, Pepsi and Don McLean’s classic song, “American Pie.”
It's the lead single from Urban's forthcoming studio album, signaling yet another creative stretch for the singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
“It’s a work in progress,” he tells Taste of Country, adding, “I’m always looking for new people to create with … I did it with Fuse and I’m doing it with this record as well.”
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