Keith Urban fans know that he owns a lot of guitars. One of them has a special history, in that it was once owned by Waylon Jennings. Keith told Country Countdown USA’s Lon Helton that he played that historic guitar during his show in Nashville last November.
Lon and Keith were discussing the encore of the Nashville show, when Eric Church joined Keith to play “Raise ‘Em Up” and “Record Year.” Keith said this about “Record Year:” “One of the lines that resonated with me at the concert was ‘Everything from Jones to Jennings.’ I own Waylon Jennings’ Telecaster guitar that I got many years ago. I never play it live, and I knew Eric was coming in that night, so I brought it down to play specifically in that song. Maybe it was just me, but when I sang that line, I looked down at that Telecaster, I got chills. It was crazy. The next day I was talkin’ to him, and said, ‘I don’t know if you noticed, but I was playing that Waylon Telly.’ He goes, ‘Course I noticed!'”
How did you come to own Waylon’s guitar? “It’s a long story, but the short version is my wife bought it at an auction, the same auction I was trying to register to big on this guitar. Unbeknownst to me, she had already registered to bid on it for me as a gift. I was watching the bidding, and said, ‘Well it’s gone, it’s gone under some collector’s bed for the rest of time.’ And my wife comes in and goes, ‘I just bought you Waylon’s guitar.’ It was a Christmas gift. I literally fell on my knees and cried like a little baby. It was the most unbelievable thing that every happened to me. I’ve had it for quite a few years. We got it from Reggie Young, who was touring with The Highwaymen, and by all accounts, Waylon came in one day and gave it to him. It’s a very heavy guitar. It’s a 1950 Fender Broadcaster. He said, ‘Hoss I want you to have this guitar. It’s too heavy.’ So Reggie had it for 25 years and decided it was time to sell it. He didn’t know I bought it. He was the first guy I called and introduced myself to him. I said ‘I own this guitar. Anytime you want it, come over and get it.’ He’s borrowed it for Waylon Jennings days, festivals he plays, that sort of things.”
Lon said, It was destined to be in your hands: Keith replied, “For now. Current caretaker, that’s what we always are.”
So talk about picking those songs to play with Eric: “I reached out to him to see if he was going to be in town. I said, ‘We’re playing, I’d love for you to come and play. I know at least one song we both know.’ He said, ‘I’m in.’ I said, ‘We should do another song.’ He goes, ‘Whatever you want to do.’ So I texted back ‘Record Year?’ He goes, ‘Whatever you want to do. It’s your show.’ So I had my band learn Record Year. We’d never played it before. We ran it at sound-check, Eric couldn’t be there for sound-check, so the first time we did it was on stage that night. Not nerve-wracking at all!”
Here’s more information on the Waylon Jennings guitar: Keith got it in 2009. This was one of the guitars that Keith had stored in a warehouse that was hit by the Nashville flood in 2010. Keith had feared that the guitar had been destroyed by the water. But the body is covered in black & white leather (You can see it in the pictures). Since the flood, Keith had the guitar restored even further so that it’s playable.