Published April 05, 2016
Lady Antebellum have a unique sound, combining intricate harmonies with undeniably catchy songs which range from emotive ballads to danceable hits. And even when they’re presented with a surefire hit that will clearly appeal to country fans, the trio stays true to their style, meaning they’ve passed on some pretty big singles.
In fact, the "American Honey" hitmakers had the opportunity to record what turned out to be Kenny Chesney's No. 1 song "American Kids." But, as band member Charles Kelley tells the Tennessean, “It just didn’t fit. ‘American Kids’ is a song about growing up in the ’70s. It makes more sense with Kenny Chesney.”
Kelley is the oldest of the three Lady A stars, and he was born in 1981 — more in the time of acid-wash jeans and shoulder pads.
“Every song found its right place,” Kelley explains. “We are crazy invested in our records. We obsess over them. It’s long sleepless nights, thinking about it and worrying about it. These records are time capsules, so you want to make them great.”
Lady Antebellum’s brand new record "747" was a labor of love, and they were extremely selective with the songs that ended up on the album. Producer Nathan Chapman was brought on board, and Kelley listened to more than 2,000 songs to help define the feel of "747."
In March, the floodgates opened, and the singer says they “hit this one little (songwriting) run” and wrote "Bartender," "Freestyle" and "Long Stretch of Love." It was a welcome surge of energy, Kelley recalls.
“It was like our first record. The minute we wrote ‘Love Don’t Live Here,’ we knew we had a sound,” he dishes. “The minute we wrote those three songs, we knew, ‘OK, now this is a fresh version of us.’”
It is, indeed, a new start for Lady A. ‘Bartender’ is their most successful song in years, with fan engagement similar to when they released "Need You Now" in 2010. They attribute the success heavily to the new spin they’ve added to their sound. “We modernized our sound from what people were used to hearing from us, but it still feels like Lady Antebellum,” Kelley says.
Yes, Lady Antebellum are more motivated than ever. With a new record and a fresh perspective (and even with two babies in tow), the group is ready to rock n’ roll like never before. Kelley describes their energy well: “Before it was like, ‘Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing.’ Now it’s like, ‘Let’s kick some (butt).’”
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