Eric Church and Keith Urban are two of the most successful artists in country music today by themselves, put them together and you have a formidable duo capable of recording one of the best songs in recent memory. The product of their combination is Urban’s latest single off of his 2013 Fuse album, “Raise ‘Em Up.”
When listened to as part of the entire record, the track seems somewhat out of place. Bro-country influences are plentiful and sometimes overwhelming on cuts like “Somewhere in My Car” and “Even the Stars Fall 4 U,” but “Raise ‘Em Up” marches to the beat of its own drum and manifests itself into being one of the most introspective songs recorded by Urban in a long time. For Church, the song makes sense; in a time where storytelling country music is getting harder and harder to find (especially on country radio), he still flies the flag of independence and willingness to adhere to traditional sounds. If this song had been cut by Church on The Outsiders, it would have fit right in. For Keith however, it feels odd, but in a good way.
Fuse as a whole has been wildly successful. “Little Bit of Everything,” “We Were Us,” and “Somewhere in my Car” all went no. 1, while “Cop Car” topped off at no. 8. Although this radio success is important in its own right, perhaps the more significant aspect to the album was that it proved that Keith is willing and able to adapt to the ever evolving country sound. When the record came out in 2013, songs like Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” would have been scoffed at as being too far on the fringes of country music to ever achieve a high level of success, yet here we are today with it climbing. The fact that Urban has been so successful for so long is one of the most impressive things not just in country, but in music in general. The reason for this success, besides looks and picking/writing the right songs, is the adaptability that he brings to the table. He follows trends yet stays true to himself as an artist at the same time. It’s not that other artists in the same realm, such as Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, don’t try to do this, it’s that they can’t do it as well. That’s where this song comes in. “Raise ‘Em Up” doesn’t follow the trend of modernizing country with blaring guitars, R&B beats, and heavily mixed vocals, instead it utilizes a softer acoustic sound that is also trendy. Despite not fitting in on the record, it shows that Urban is still versatile and as strong as ever as an artist.