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Lady Antebellum

Own the Night – 2011 (Capitol Nashville)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum needn't worry about being third time lucky because they jumped out of the box and onto the charts from the get go. And they went off the charts so to speak with I Need You Now from their sophomore effort, but that very uneven disc contained a slew of mediocre songs and hits.

The good news about "Own the NIght" is that the material is a whole lot better. There are plenty of strong songs here with a lot of the songs sounding very radio ready.

The strength of the trio is the vocal interplay and abilities of Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott. They mesh their vocals quite well as they did on Need You Now on such songs as Dancin' Away With My Heart. Kelley's warm soulfulness comes through time and again and adds a lot of color.

Given the subject matter of the songs - trying to find or hold onto someone - the duet or back-and-forth vocal interplay makes perfect sense (the slow, mournful Cold as Stone or the far more optimistic Singing Me Home). To the credit of Kelley and Scott, they are able to pull it off. Sometimes Kelley will take more of the lead role, while elsewhere (the fast paced When You Were Mine), Scott dominates.

For the country music fans out there, there's bad news - this isn't much of a country album at all. Lady A makes you think maybe it would be given the prominent mandolin at the leadoff of We Owned the Night and Love I've Found You is more squarely country, but the sonics quickly goes more towards mid-tempo pop (that is except for the big sounding Smoke on the Water sort of riff on the rocking Friday Night). That's not a bad thing, of course, but just don't expect Lady Antbellum to be heavy duty country either.

Lady Antebellum matures on their third disc in their best batch of music yet. If it's luck, it continues once again.