"I realize now, particularly after this journey, apparently I love hokey songs," Urban said. "I love choruses. I love guitar riffs. I love particular grooves and rhythms and I like them being prominent. I love acoustic instrumentation fused with electronic-type instruments. I like ballads. I like rockers. I like pop aspects. I like all that stuff. I just make my record it's all me. If I was to label it, I'd probably say it feels like a progressive crossover country album, 2014."
Joyce said Urban called and dropped by his Nashville studio for a visit. He was drawn to Urban's energy, and like the singer, he loves to mix things up in the studio.
"It was different because he's really heavily involved, so it really was a lot of pushing and pulling each other to get to this place," said Joyce, who works with artists as diverse as Eric Church, Cage the Elephant and Amos Lee. "And I kind of admire anybody that's willing to push themselves musically and not try to think of it as this record is just a means to keep the train going, making the music be first. I think it's brave."
Urban agrees he could have taken the safe route, but didn't see his approach as much of a gamble. "Fuse" hits during one of the most creative points in Urban's life. He's finishing up a tour, preparing for a second season on "Idol" and is raising two young girls with his wife, Nicole Kidman.
The album is simply Urban embracing the possibilities life has presented him.
"I feel very alive and I find this to be a very alive album," he said.
Follow AP Music Writer Chris Talbott: http://twitter.com/Chris--Talbott .