updated 08/01/2014 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/01/2014 AT 12:30 PM ET
Hoping to preserve a bit of Nashville’s storied history, Keith Urban is speaking out about growing development near the city’s famed Music Row that threatens to displace country music landmarks.
“The past, present and the future are ALL still here – but the Row is currently under threat from developers,” Urban, 46, wrote in an editorial published Friday by The Tennessean newspaper.
“Nashville has exploded as a music town, and not just country music. Musicians from all genres, all over the world are making the pilgrimage here to immerse themselves in the kind of creative center that so many other cities have lost but that Nashville still maintains,” Urban added of his plea that urges balance amid development plans.
“Nashville’s growth is exciting, but not at the risk of losing the creative epicenter that is Music Row and that truly makes Nashville Music City,” he wrote.
“I made my first trip to Nashville from Australia in the summer of 1989. I checked into the Shoney’s Inn on Demonbreun, then headed straight into the legendary Music Row,” the American Idol judge said. “From that moment on, I would drive to the Row almost daily in my rented crap car to write, record demos and generally hang around, meeting all kinds of people. Music Row became my center, because Music Row IS a center.”
Urban’s tenacity paid off as he mixed with the creative community he met on Music Row and spurred a career that has made him a multiplatinum-selling artist. He said that he doesn’t want to see the demise of a special place that nurtured diverse artists like Waylon Jennings and Neil Young and “the countless publishing houses where classic songs were and are written, pitched and demoed.”
“I sincerely hope that those who have made Nashville their home over the years, and those who have recently discovered our fair city, will come together as a united front and continue to be vocal about preserving and fortifying our beloved Music Row,” Urban wrote.