This was a first. In all my years of interviewing country celebs, I've never held one in my arms, squished their pudgy little elbows and kissed their sweet heads. But, then, Baby Antebellum came along.
Photo Credit: Hillary Scott via Twitter
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott told me that my interview on Wednesday (Feb. 26) was her daughter Eisele's very first one. So it was an exclusive, of sorts. But even at 7 months old, she was such a pro about the whole thing. She let me hold her for a while, then she went back to Scott, then Lady A's Charles Kelley took over cuddling duty.
Before the interview even started, though, you could see how much Lady Antebellum treats Eisele like she's the whole band's baby. Kelley sang her some "pretty high-pitched stuff." (He told me, "She looks in your mouth and wonders how it's making that sound.") Then Dave Haywood sang her some "Then They Do," sounding exactly like Trace Adkins. Then her mom started in on what appeared to be Eisele's favorite tune, "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window."
But what was so obvious to me -- beyond the fact that, to quote the Faith Hill hit, a baby changes everything -- is Baby Antebellum is doing what comes naturally to her because of how her mother was raised. You might recall that Scott's mother Linda Davis charted several hits in the '90s.
"I'm a road baby," Scott told me. "I toured with my mom for a couple of years. I was homeschooled for kindergarten and first grade. And so that's one of those coolest things to think about, that as Eisele gets older, I'll know what those moments are like for her. Like when she says, 'I don't want to go,' I'll know exactly how it felt. And I'll be able to tell her, 'Trust me. It'll be OK.'"
And Haywood made it sound like Eisele has taken to life on the road easily.
"She'll come out for soundcheck, and she'll have her big earphones on. She's really chill," he said. "Honestly, I've only seen her cry once or twice since she was born."
Kelley agreed, adding that not only is the baby chill with the changes, but so is the band.
"We know that what the three of us have is so special, and this is more than what we could have individually," he said. "So you morph into whatever the new thing is. The baby being out on the road with us ends up making it better. She keeps it interesting. So instead of the same old thing -- a bunch of single people out on the road partying all the time -- it just changes."
When it was almost time for Eisele to leave, Scott held her and talked lovingly about what kinds of songs Lady Antebellum might write down the road. Not now, but some day.
"It would have to be a song just about the feeling," Scott said. "Of just being excited about life. There's such a newness about everything because of her. So it wouldn't be so much just the ins and outs of being Eisele's mom put into a song. It would just be about how you feel about life now."