It’s literally a Cinderella story in the making and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer, more talented guy.
They say life can change in an instant, and Rob Joyce knows that to be 100 percent true. While Rob’s name may not immediately ring a bell, chances are you’ve heard of him. He’s the 24-year-old fan that wowed the world when Keith Urban brought him onstage over the Fourth of July weekend and let him play a little guitar.
Rare Country caught up with Rob in an exclusive interview just days after his mind-blowing performance and even though he lived it, it’s still sinking in.
“It felt surreal. I think I blacked out. I don’t remember much,” he recalls with a shy laugh. “Funny thing is, this has happened in my head hundreds of thousands of times. This has been a dream of mine and I always thought if that were to ever happen I would play “Good Thing” because that’s my favorite song. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction for me, whenever I pick up any guitar ever I start playing that riff.”
Safe to say of the thousands of times he’s played that riff, he’s never had Keith Urban standing next to him nor has Keith’s band fallen in step behind him to flush out the song.
“I was going to stop playing right there, just play that short little snippet,” he says, sounding still shocked that it actually happened. “All of a sudden I heard a kick drum, and I looked behind me. Then the bass started to come in and before I knew it the whole band was playing so I kept going.”
As you might imagine for a guy who only has played coffee houses, playing to 20,000 people was just a tad bit overwhelming. You’d never know it by watching him, but Rob admits he barely noticed anything, including the stunned look on Keith’s face when he started playing.
“I was very nervous so I didn’t see anything, but when I watched the video I could see his face and that made me feel so great. I do remember a moment, I think it was when the whole band kicked in and Keith sang his first note. I looked out and saw who I was playing for, I could hear the music around me and it was just one of those moments that didn’t even feel real. It just felt like a dream,” he says.
Alas, as fast as it happened, it was over just as quickly. He didn’t go backstage and other than what we saw onstage, he didn’t get to truly meet Keith. Drummer Danny Rader shouted “great job” as he walked to the foot of the stage to rejoin the crowd, but that was it.
Today, life is back to normal for Rob and his girlfriend, Lex, although something tells us his next gig might be a little different.
“I do a little acoustic coffee house solo gig here locally. To be honest, the only people in the audience are pretty much my friends who come to see me and the people who work there,” he adds with a laugh. “I’ve been trying to start a country bar band, but I haven’t had much luck with it yet.”
That shouldn’t be much of a problem now as musicians in the New Hampshire area will probably be lining up to join forces with the guy who just knocked the socks off of one of country music’s biggest stars. They better hurry though, because once Rob is finished at UMASS Lowell, his plan is to head to Nashville to chase a career as, you guessed it, a guitar player in a band.
“To the people who are just discovering me, thank you. Infinite, infinite thank you’s for taking a few seconds to check me out and listen to my stuff and for all the nice things everyone has been saying. It means the world to me. To Keith, the biggest thank you in the whole world. You’re the reason I picked up a guitar in the first place, so thank you for trusting me to come onstage and for giving me that opportunity.”