When Charles Kelley Has Me Time

That Is Dave Haywood's Free Time

Lady Antebellum front man Charles Kelley has been busy – so very busy – with his solo album, his new single, “The Driver,” an upcoming winter tour and a baby on the way.

I had a chance to hear all about it when I caught up with Kelley at the ASCAP Awards on Nov. 2, and he told me the new stuff is more California country than pop country.

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And it ain’t all party anthems and shiny, happy fun songs.

“It’s edgier, first of all, because it’s not all the pretty three-part harmonies. And I have a song call ‘Leaving Nashville’ that’s about struggle of the songwriter and all the ups and downs. It’s depressing,” he said. (But one of those songs you just have to write, almost to get it out of your system, I think.)

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“Being in Lady A was all I’ve known for eight or nine years, so to get up on my own makes me feel really naked. And that’s why I did this. I wanted to be taken outside my comfort zone. When you do anything for that long, you start taking the success for granted,” Kelley admitted. “But I got into the business for the love of music. It wasn’t because I was chasing after success.”

So now that Kelley has his to-do list packed with getting new music out and hitting the road, where does that leave Lady Antebellum?

With some well-earned time on their hands.

The trio’s Dave Haywood told me that he supports Kelley and whatever he does with his time off.

“He’s got some cool tunes. It’s a cool next chapter. And for me, it’s good to have time to chase down some passions. I’ve been writing a ton and I have some producing opportunities, and I’m doing dad stuff,” he said. His little boy Cash just turned one year old in September.

“I will never have to say no to any family time now. I will be home as much as I can. To me, that’s the ultimate joy: anytime I can be at home with Cash and my wife,” Haywood said. “This is my dad solo project.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.