One of the top lessons Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary learned in their first decade as a band is never record music they can’t get behind 100%.
If they’re not feeling it, their fans won’t feel it either.
“Be true to yourself,” Kelley said during our CMT.com interview. “Sometimes when we’ve put out a single that didn’t quite feel like us, it usually didn’t work. I won’t name the songs, but there are definitely some that we kind of talked ourselves into putting out because we thought they were hits, and fans can see right through it. I think it’s very important for us an an artist now looking back, if we don’t love it, they’re going to be able to tell.
“There might be some hits out there that get pitched to us that could be hits,” he added. “But does it really make us feel anything? Does it make us want to get out of bed? And we’ve just got to be true to ourselves, and anytime we ever have, those have been our biggest songs. It’s the ones we force that aren’t.”,
Their new album Heart Break is return to the way the band made their first two albums. They lived together throughout the recording process as the songs were tracked in studios in Florida, Los Angeles and Nashville. With California-based hitmaker busbee producing, the result is a heartfelt expression of the different love languages shared among spouses, significant others, families, friends and with oneself.
“The Stars” and “Home” were inspired by the love they have for their respective families. They touch on themes of independence in the title track and “Think About You.” They get nostalgic about first loves in “Big Love in a Small Town” and “Teenage Heart.” Love makes life look better in “This City,” “Good Time to Be Alive” and the funky lead single “You Look Good.”
Lady Antebellum also attribute part of their re-energized sound to projects they’ve released outside of the band. Kelley and Hillary Scott & the Scott Family each picked up Grammy nominations with 2016’s The Driver and Love Remains, respectively. The debut EP from the trio Post Monroe lists Haywood as a producer.
“There is a lot of self-awareness on this record and us trying to be very transparent with where we’ve been, where we are and where we want to go,” Scott said. “And this is the most co-written songs by us on an album in our entire career. And I think it’s because we allowed some time to kind of have normalcy at home with our families and then we had a lot of inspiration to pull from coming back in.”
“Our goal is to be here for a long time,” Haywood said. “So I think we learned a lot about how to be here by watching people that have come before us. You’ve just got to just focus on the music, focus on us as a trio, and make sure everybody’s having a great time doing it. That’s been nice to kind of get back to that and reconnect in that way.”
“We’ve always been grateful for every step in the journey,” Scott added. “But when things are moving really fast, you’re not fully able to absorb everything as it’s happening, and I think now we’re refreshed. We’re full of gratitude. We’re letting passion guide us in the songs we choose and not letting one lyric be filler and just really believing in every bit of these songs.”