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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 02: Keith Urban looks on before the 2016 NRL Grand Final match between the Cronulla Sharks and the Melbourne Storm at ANZ Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Keith Urban is one of this year’s five CMA Entertainer of the Year nominees and he’s up for four other awards at the November 8th show. Keith and a few of his colleagues recently spoke to Nashville’s The Tennessean newspaper about those honors, as well as his career and country fans.

Keith, the newspaper holds, “prizes vulnerability and wears his open heart on his sleeve,” something particularly useful in darker times. “I think when live shows are at their best, that’s what they do, they bring hope,” he tells the publication. “My shows, hopefully, bring hope. And if we leave there with that intact, we go to the next town and do the same thing.”

The superstar has a long list of close friends in the business and all are quick to sing his praises. “He’s as good a musician as I know,” Vince Gill tells the newspaper. “He’s like a little brother to me, and who wouldn’t want Keith Urban as their little brother? What I admire most about my friend is his heart. He has a heart that is always willing to lend a hand.”

Adds Chris Stapleton, “If he was just a singer, or just a songwriter or just a guitar player, he would be tops at all of those things. But he’s all of them.”

His record label group president is among his biggest fans, too. “Keith Urban is a student of life and works hard at being teachable,” UMG/Nashville’s Cindy Mabe tells the newspaper. “He is always striving to learn something new, to grow and evolve as a human, and that completely plays out in his music … and also in his performances. I don’t know anyone else who continuously connects with another person the way he does.”

The Tennessean is profiling each of the five CMA Entertainer nominees in the days leading up to the show. Read the full story on Keith Urban here.

Teddy McDonald is a fun-lovin’ country music fan man living in Nashville, Tennessee.