When most people consider the continent of Australia, they think of Koala bears, Kangaroos, and Vegemite. Or perhaps you remember “Crocodile Dundee”, the movie that taught us a bit of “Aussie” slang? But when I think of Australia, I think of country music.
Is that a bit strange to you? I might agree if I didn’t listen to that genre of music everyday on my radio. You might wonder what country music and Australia have in common. Well, I was very surprised some years ago to find a country music newcomer was actually from “down under”.
His name is Keith Urban. From his extensive bio on Wikipedia, Keith Urban has loads of talent and is no stranger to hard work.
Keith Lionel Urban was born on October 26th, 1967, the youngest child in the family. He was born in Whangarei, New Zealand. Try saying that three times really fast! His family moved to Australia while Keith was in his teens. Reading his bio reminds me of my own guitar playing brother. They both started at an early age, I’m sure like my brother, Keith was trying to learn it all on his own. Keith’s dad owned a convenience store and put an ad in the window advertising for a guitar teacher. Amazingly, that teacher is still a family friend today.
Keith started out playing at music festivals, and talent shows. In 1992, he moved to Nashville, Tennessee. Working with country music artists like Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, and Charlie Daniels. He stayed busy writing songs, and playing guitar in the recording studio. In 1997, Keith Urban branched out and formed his own band, The Ranch.
His American debut album’s first song release was, “It’s a Love Thing” which made it to #18 on the country music charts. The next release was, “Your Everything” that soared to a #4 spot, making Keith Urban the first male artist from New Zealand to reach the top ten on a U.S. country chart. This hit was followed by, “But for the Grace of God”, a number one hit for Keith with skyrocketing success.
Now, country music is not my only favorite music to listen to while driving back and forth to work. I enjoy Christian praise and worship music as well. Australia is also home to Hillsong Church.
I was first introduced to their music through my aunt when she came to attend my father’s funeral. We were getting food ready to feed the tribe and she asked if I would mind listening to a music tape she had brought with her while we prepared the meal. Well, I’m all for trying new things. I was pleasantly surprised.
Darlene Zschech became a Christian household name in the year 2000, with her fresh songs of God’s goodness, provision and hope. There are so many of her songs that I enjoy I can’t begin to pick a favorite. Darlene use of popular scripture incorporated into toe tapping melodies make for popular music.
Darlene started out singing in church at the age of three. She eventually graduated to singing backup for other worship bands, and in choir. But in the early 90’s, she became more involved with the creative aspects of Hillsong Church. “Shout to the Lord”, became the banner in which she will be forever known. Her passion in praising the Lord has taught us all to express our joy in song. In doing so, she has given us all permission to express that wellspring of spirit in worship.
What is your favorite music to listen to when you’re driving along the highway?