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Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum – 2008 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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CDs by Lady Antebellum

The early info on Lady Antebellum's debut promised a blend of classic country harmonies, R&B soul, and '70s singer-songwriter sincerity. Those elements are thin, and they're held firmly in check by the unabashedly contemporary production. It's an album that could very easily have been totally generic.

The division of vocal duties between Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley - third band member Dave Haywood is the instrumentalist - raises it out of mediocrity. Just as they trade leads and harmonies, they trade stories and perspectives. It's a youthful approach to age-old subjects like loving and leaving. Finding strength is a secondary theme throughout until the last song, "One Day You

Will," where it takes center stage in a track that manages to be both realistic and optimistic about the state of mind of younger generations. The vocal styles are different enough - Kelley relies on his distinctive voice, while Scott emphasizes unusual phrasings - to keep the album interesting through all 11 tracks, even where the music itself sounds kind of indistinguishable. Occasionally, those differences lead to some clunky harmonies, especially on the otherwise charming "Lookin' For a Good Time," but the blend is successful more often than not.