Sign up for newsletter

Lady A tells the backstory

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 – The story of Lady Antebellum will reach TV screens with the premiere of "Backstory" Lady Antebellum" on Great American Country (GAC), Sunday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. eastern.

"We were really intimidated, I was like, 'Let's just write songs for her, she's gonna be a big 'ol star and we can be, maybe, big 'ol songwriters for this girl,'" recalls Lady Antbellum's Dave Haywood about the way he and band mate Charles Kelley felt after meeting Hillary Scott in 2006 and checking out her MySpace page. "Backstory: Lady Antebellum" tells the story of two friends from Georgia and a chance meeting with a second generation country singer, their rise to music superstardom while remaining the band everyone loves to love. Childhood photos and performance videos as well as conversations with the trio's parents help tell the story of this remarkable trio.

While Scott grew up in Nashville, Kelley graduated with a finance degree from the University of Georgia and quit his first day job to move to Nashville and pursue music. Haywood earned a degree in computers from Georgia and took a well-paying accounting job in Atlanta. They had written together once in college so Kelley contacted Haywood and was soon driving to Atlanta every other weekend to co-write. "His brother (singer Josh Kelley) was a big influence on us so I figured maybe we could write songs for Josh or maybe for other country artists," Haywood said. Eventually Haywood quit his job and moved to Nashville hoping Kelley's solo career would take off. Their mantra was 'no day jobs' as they focused all of their time and energy on songwriting, maxing out credit cards in the process.

Meanwhile, Scott was also pursuing a solo career and ran into Kelley in a Nashville club; she was a fan of his work on his MySpace page, and they agreed to get together to write. The chemistry was immediate. "There was this intangible magic that happened when the three of us got in a room together," said Scott.

The plan was to simply write songs for each other's solo projects but things changed. "While doing music demos we found out how well our voices blend together," she said.

After several months they'd written enough songs to do a showcase and as Haywood said, "That show was the straw that broke the camel's back as far as us deciding to make it a group."

They abandoned their solo pursuits, and Haywood became booking agent and web master for the group. "We'd agree to play any place that would offer a stage and a microphone," Scott said. "We had to share a hotel room, and Dave and I were sleeping in the same bed in a Comfort Inn in whatever town we were in." Scott's mom, singer Linda Davis, said, "I'd have probably pitched in for separate quarters but nobody asked me so we just let that run its course. And they managed to put up with each other."

Soon they performed at an industry showcase and within days, they had multiple record deals on the table. Signing with Capitol Records, success came quick. While the group claimed the best new artist prize in 2008 from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music and their first number single - I Run To You - was also the CMA Song of the Year in 2009, it was the release of Need You Now that changed everything. "Literally, in less than two hours, we just knocked it out," Scott said of the songwriting session with the trio and Josh Kear.

The song sat dormant for six months and almost didn't make the record. "I truly believe the stars were aligned and fate stepped in and it was part of God's plan for us to be there right then," Scott said of the song that helped Lady A earn 5 Grammy awards including the all-genre Song and Record of the Year prizes.

"We're trying to just enjoy these moments and that's kind of the theme of our new album, "Own the Night" (Sept. 13)," said Haywood. "We have grown closer and at this point in our career are enjoying ourselves and each other more than ever."

More news for Lady Antebellum

CD reviews for Lady Antebellum

Heart Break CD review - Heart Break
Lady Antebellum may cause you to throw out many of your country music principles. They don't sing and play traditional country music, for starters. They're not cool like more rocking Americana artists. In fact, they're huge mainstream country stars. So, why are some of us still suckers for their sound? And why does the new "Heart Break" sound so good on the ears? Well, it's simple, but complicated. Hillary Scott is simply a wonderfully sincere singer. »»»
747 CD review - 747
Six albums into its career, Lady Antebellum pretty much has the formula down pat. Either Hillary Scott or long and lanky Charles Kelley assumes lead vocals with Dave Haywood also providing vocals plus guitars and mandolin in a bunch of songs easy on the ears with a story often involving a lust for love. The typical song ("Lie With Me," for example) starts with Kelly or Scott taking a stanza, followed by the other with both then tackling the chorus together. This has worked quite well »»»
Golden CD review - Golden
Lady Antebellum probably needed a change in direction after "Own the Night" dropped in 2011. The material was overly geared towards taking dead aim at the radio jugular and not the best material. That isn't the case this time out on the trio's fifth release because most of the songs veer away from being obviously radio fodder (except for the current singleDowntown with its soulful beginning and strong vocals from Hillary Scott), but that also doesn't man that this was the right change. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Kristofferson gives insight, but no easy answers – When they say music gets better with age, they're not always just talking about songs alone; sometimes they're also referring to the listener. When Kris Kristofferson sings, "Well, I woke up Sunday morning/With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt," to smartly open "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down," he... »»»
Concert Review: No sugarcoating, Welch dishes out an experience – Gillian Welch (accompanied, as always, by master guitarist David Rawlings), celebrated her "The Harrow & The Harvest" album with a powerful night of music. She apologized many times for the utter unhappiness expressed through this album's songs, admitting it's "not the most chipper album" at one point.... »»»
Subscribe to Country News Digest Country News Digest      Follow Country Standard Time on twitter CST      Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook CST

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Hillman bides his time Legends don't come any more legendary than Chris Hillman. The roll call of bands that comprises Hillman's half century in music reads like a wing exhibit at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, the Souther Hillman Furay Band, the Desert Rose Band,... »»»
The Cadillac Three creates its "Legacy" William Shakespeare noted a few centuries back that a rose by any other name would be equally aromatic, and that general idea has musical implications as well. The Cadillac Three knows a thing or two about maintaining a sonic identity after a name change;... »»»
With Stanley and Watson, sound isn't elementary Those aware of the late Owsley "Bear" Stanley likely know him for one of two reasons - his pioneering work manufacturing lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in San Francisco during the mid-to-late 1960s and his role as an innovative sound engineer. Most notably, Bear worked...... »»»
May shifts gears, directions Headed into 2015, Imelda May was on a hit streak. Her rockabilly career was in full swing, nurtured by the likes of former Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland and guitar icon Jeff Beck. Her albums routinely topped the charts in her native Ireland.... »»»
Lane assumes mantle of "Highway Queen" For most artists, eight years is a fair amount of time in their careers. For Nikki Lane, eight years represents the entirety of her recorded history, and she's filled that relatively short time span with a highlight reel of impressive accomplishments, not the least of which would be actually... »»»
First Cigarette CD review - First Cigarette
The stunning vocal of Travis Meadows on the opening track, "Sideways," brims with honesty, pain and hard-earned wisdom as he offers a blend of confession and advice, stimulated by an experience at an adolescent addiction treatment center. Meadows, like many, is one of those Nashville songwriters ("Riser" for Dierks Bentley and "What We Ain't Got" for Jake Owen), but is finding his own voice relatively late in life. »»»
The Long Awaited Album CD review - The Long Awaited Album
When last we visited a new album from Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers, 2011's "Rare Bird Alert," we found a cohesive, focused collection of bluegrass; it was an expansive, artistic creation that only benefited the bluegrass community. A subsequent live album (strikingly entitled "Live") presented a continued refinement of this pairing's chemistry.  »»»
Bidin' My Time CD review - Bidin' My Time
With all the memorable music Chris Hillman created with The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Desert Rose Band, he has nothing left to prove. He's a both a bona fide rock and country icon. Tom Petty, who owes an obvious debt to Hillman's...  »»»
Turmoil & Tinfoil CD review - Turmoil & Tinfoil
Billy Strings. It takes a lot of nerve to adopt such a nom de plume (in this case nom de guerre might be more appropriate) in the bluegrass world, but Billy Strings is up to the challenge, and more. Strings (real name William Apostol) grew up in Michigan, surrounded by musicians. »»»
Jon Langford's Four Lost Souls CD review - Jon Langford's Four Lost Souls
Jon Langford shifts musical gears as effortlessly as a European race car driver on a Grand Prix course. Looking at the totality of his career (The Mekons, Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, the Three Johns, Wee Hairy Beasties, Pine Valley Cosmonauts, Bad Luck Jonathan, God knows what else), it hardly seems as though one peg could have fit into all those oddly shaped holes... »»»
Contraband Love CD review - Contraband Love
Larry Campbell and Teresa Campbell could have been content to retain their status as musicians on call, given the fact that they've loaned their services to any number of high profile employers -- Bob Dylan, Rosanne Cash, Mavis Staples, Levon Helm, Little... »»»