Blue Ain't Your Color

Album: Ripcord (2016)
Charted: 24

Songfacts®:

  • Keith Urban's' father, Robert "Bob" Urban, died on December 5, 2015, when the singer was in the midst of working on Ripcord. "Don Williams records, I grew up listening to because of my dad," Urban told The Boot.

    "My dad's stereo - that's the first thing I think of, is that kind of strong downbeat, backbeat and little in-between rhythmic thing that is very, very Don Williams," he continued. "[It] really informed so much of how I play and how I rhythmically approach records."

    Urban feels his father's influence is all over Ripcord including this Steven Lee Olsen, Hillary Lindsey and Clint Lagerberg penned waltz-like ballad, which the singer produced with Dann Huff. "['Blue Ain't Your Color'] is a very, very stark, minimalistic way of recording, which really comes from those records that Don and Garth Fundis did," Urban explained. "And to go back now and listen to some of those — which I do pretty often, just to be reminded of how little you need on certain tracks."

    "Don also had that attitude, too, like, the song is the picture, and the record is the frame. You've got to find the right frame, not too much and not too little, to make the picture really work," he added. "So for the songs that don't need much, like 'Blue Ain't Your Color,' my dad's record collection obviously has informed that a lot."
  • Keith Urban fell in love with this slow Steven Lee Olsen, Hillary Lindsey and Clint Lagerberg penned track straight away. "I think I was trying to find songs and write songs to what I had done in the past, just that felt different for me. This song called 'Blue Ain't Your Color' came along, and it was just one of those that I loved immediately," he recalled. "I loved the lyric. I loved the melody, the feel, and it's basically a waltz, you know, like a one, two, three, two, two, three, a one, two, three, two, two, three."

    "But I didn't want it to feel like a waltz, you know?" Urban added. "So, when we recorded the song at Starstruck Studios here in Nashville, we kept it a little more robotic sounding, so it wasn't a straight band. It was a little more machinery, rhythmically, and I think it kept, hopefully for me at least, it kept it in a unique place that allowed the story to have a lot of space."
  • Directed by fashion photographer Carter Smith, the stylized black-and-white video stars supermodel and actress Amber Valletta, who portrays a brokenhearted woman in an empty bar. Throughout the clip, Urban and his band perform the song on the bar's tiny stage. However at the end of the visual we see Valletta's character on her own, giving the impression the music was just in her head the whole time.

    Amber Valletta has been a successful model since landing her first American Vogue cover in 1992. She has also appeared in television shows such as ABC's Blood & Oil.
  • Keith Urban's favorite bit of the video is the ending. "The camera pans around and suddenly the stage is bare and you're not quite sure if she's imagined the whole thing," he explained. "There's something really poetic about that."
  • Urban explained to reporters how he and producer Dann Huff came up with the song's atypical waltz sound. "I didn't want it to feel like a typical sonic presentation of a waltz. I wanted to try and mess with that a little bit, which is what drove the drum machine," he said. "Machinery drives the song, because you don't normally have machinery in a waltz, unless you've got a cheap-ass organ."

    "But I wanted to tinker and mix stuff to get a drum machine, and then got a string guitar, and then soaked in Reefer Telecaster and just messed with the combinations to try and give it its own sonic thumbprint."
  • The song topped the Country chart, marking Urban's 16th #1 on the listing. The instant he heard it, the Australian star knew the tune was a potential hit. "The very first time I heard it, it was just like, 'Oh man. Play it again, play it again, play it again,'" he recalled. "Went and grabbed my guitar and started singing along with it almost right away. And it just felt like your favorite pair of jeans, right out of the gate."
  • It was Steven Lee Olsen who originally came up with the song's concept. He recalled to The Boot: "Honestly, the idea came when I was sleeping on the couch and woke up at midnight, and I remember seeing something vaguely on the TV with the word 'blue' in it. I woke up and had my dog at the foot of my couch, and for whatever reason 'Blue Ain't Your Color' literally just came into my mind. I jotted it down on my phone, and then I went back to sleep."

    Olsen brought the idea to Clint Lagerberg first. "Immediately, he was like, 'Yes. I'm in. I'm in,'" he remembered. "We talked about it a little bit more. Although we probably could have written it the two of us, it wouldn't have been nearly what it was without Hillary. We knew that she needed to be a part of this song, so we brought the idea to her, and immediately she was on board as well. Next thing you know, we were drinking wine in her writing studio, and the song was born."
  • The song's music video was inspired by a performance Keith Urban did on American Idol. He explained:

    "[It] really came from when I did American Idol with Carrie Underwood, and because it was the finale, I played in a suit, and this whole idea kind of started from the idea of playing in a suit. From there, obviously, the story of the song is pretty strong, and we started building the concept from there. But, the initial spark of inspiration was really about that."
  • This won Single of the Year at the 2017 CMA Awards.
  • This was the most-played song on Waffle House's jukeboxes in 2017. Urban's cut beat out more than 30 million other tunes to be #1 on the chain's annual list of the top 10 songs played at 1,850 Waffle House restaurants across 25 states.

Comments: 2

  • Margaret from Las VegasWhat bar in Nashville did Keith make the video Blue
  • Jeffrey Thomas from Chico, Ca.I was wondering what kind of guitar was in the video? rickenbocker?
see more comments

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