Planes, trains and automobiles. Lady Antebellum has spent plenty of time in all three. Driven by the need to continually evolve, the country trio always seems to be in transit, pushing toward a newer, bolder sound one minute and hitting the road for a worldwide tour the next. Sometimes, those two things happen at once. With 747, Lady Antebellum’s fifth album, the band captures the speed and spirit of its critically-acclaimed live show in 11 new songs. Bandmates Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood may have formed the group in Nashville, with all three singers harmonizing for the first time around Haywood’s piano, but they earned their stripes on the road. That’s where Lady Antebellum truly came alive, mixing the rootsy stomp of forward-thinking Country music with the swooning, sweeping sound of three voices that were born to mesh. As the shows got bigger, so did the band’s ambition. Written during the 2014 Take Me Downtown Tour, 747 — whose title rustles up the image of a fast-moving plane bound for bigger, better places — doubles as a metaphor for the group itself. After spending years at the top of the Country charts, Lady Antebellum is ready to pull up the wheels and climb even higher. “We started discovering more of an ‘in your face’ sound that we’d never explored before, so we began writing towards that mentality,” says Kelley, who remembers walking into a dance bar after a Lady Antebellum concert and feeling the need to compose faster, fiercer songs that could live in that environment. The first step toward making that transformation was relying less on the band’s history with mid-tempo ballads — although two softer songs, “One Great Mystery” and the nostalgic, nocturnal “Damn You Seventeen,” did make the final tracklist for 747 — and focusing on more explosive material. Kelley, Scott and Haywood invited some of their favorite songwriters to join them on the road, too, resulting in a series of late-night writing sessions on the band’s tour bus, with everyone traveling together from one sold-out show to the next. “Being on the road and writing new songs, we found ourselves wanting more of that high energy material,” Haywood remembers. “We came up with songs like ‘Bartender’ and ‘Long Stretch of Love,’ with that big feeling that really hits you hard in an arena.” During gaps in the band’s busy touring schedule, Lady Antebellum returned to Nashville and recorded the new songs with Grammy-winning producer Nathan Chapman. It was one of the group’s first times working with anyone besides Paul Worley, who’d played a monumental role in Lady Antebellum’s career by co-producing multi-platinum hits like “Need You Now,” “Just a Kiss” and “I Run to You.” The band became a chart-topping, Grammy-winning juggernaut under Worley’s wing… but even the biggest groups need to reach outside their comfort zone. “It’s different when you walk into a different studio and talk to a different producer,” Kelley says of the band’s transition. “Something different comes out, naturally. One thing with Nathan is he works really fast, and he works all hours.” As a result, Lady Antebellum finished an entire record in a short, inspired period of time. Chapman pushed the three singers to deliver their best performances up front, often recording a song’s vocal tracks in just four or five takes. He also stretched the boundaries of Lady A’s sound by introducing some subtle digital touches, like loops and computer programming. When the group considered scrapping one song, “Sounded Good at the Time,” after falling out of love with its opening guitar riff, Chapman broke the riff into smaller segments and reversed them, creating a new hook that pushed the song forward without abandoning its organic roots. “Bartender,” 747‘s first single, is another game-changer. Driven forward by banjo, percussion and an insatiable chorus, the song finds Scott thinking back to her days as a single woman, when a double shot of whiskey could wash away the memory of a no-good ex. “I thought it was such a great curveball to put out first,” she says. “I’m a mom, and I love that role more than anything, but I’m also a woman who lived a lot before she was a mom. ‘Bartender’ has allowed me to get outside of my new role, and it’s so fun to perform. To watch how well it’s done in such a short amount of time, it’s just continued proof that our fans want fun from us.” “It’s just a good, fun song,” added Kelley. “We have to remember, as a band, that not all our singles have to be these ‘big statement’ songs like ‘Hello World’ or ‘Need You Now.’ Sometimes, they can just be about looking for a good time. ‘Bartender’ and ‘Downtown’ kind of prove that to us, that we’ve gotta let our hair down a little bit on these records. Then, when you do hear a song on this record like ‘Lie With Me’ or ‘One Great Mystery,’ hopefully it will mean a lot more.” Scott has high hopes for “Lie With Me,” a stirring duet written by Marc Beeson and Abe Stoklasa. She trades verses with Kelley during the song, which spins the tale of two estranged lovers who agree to spend one final night together, even though they know the flame has died out. “One of our favorite songs in the entire world is ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ by Bonnie Raitt,” she says. “It’s a perfect song that is incomparable. It puts you in this place and exudes this mood. I just listen to that song and I close my eyes and I see a movie in my head. [“Lie With Me”] did the same thing for me, in a different way. You’re listening to the lyrics and you can close your eyes and just see this whole scene play out.” It’s appropriate that 747 — an album about love, nostalgia, and the things that move us emotionally and physically — also contains several fast-paced anthems about transit. The first is “Long Stretch of Love,” an epic track that owes as much to rock ‘n’ roll’s raw swagger as Country’s rootsy twang. The last is “747,” a soaring title track built around the singers’ three-part harmonies. “This 747 can’t go fast enough,” goes the latter tune’s refrain, and while those lyrics technically refer to a heartsick man who’s flying back home to see his wife, they also paint the picture of a band that’s already skyrocketed to creative heights… but can’t help pushing down the throttle for a bit more speed. “We put so much energy into every single vocal performance and every aspect of recording,” Scott says of the album, which arrives less a year after the deluxe release of Golden, “and that’s what we want people to hear. That electricity. The electricity of new relationships, of new music, of new ways of recording.” “747 is a snapshot of where we are as a band,” adds Kelley. “It’s us wanting to solidify our place — to stay at the top of our game, for lack of a better way of saying it. You know, when you start playing these arenas and these amphitheaters, and the fans are gravitating toward this music, it’s a drug. You want it. You want to stay there. As a band, we’re ready.”
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain. The holiday is commonly associated with fireworks displays, parades, barbecues and concerts. Some of your favorite country stars take time to remember their Fourth of July traditions, memories and what the holiday really means to them.
Several artists will perform during Independence Day celebrations. Keith Urban will take part in the annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular, along with Blake Shelton, Kelly Clarkson and Ricky Martin, which will be broadcast July 4th at 8pm ET on NBC.
Carrie Underwood will headline the Fourth of July Hot Country Live event, launching Spotify’s new live concert series based on the streaming services Hot Country Playlist. It will take place at the Seaport’s Rooftop at Pier 17 concert venue.
Lady Antebellum will headline the free July 4th concert in downtown Nashville. The “Let Freedom Sing” concert event will also feature performances by Chris Janson and Lucie Silvas. Following the show, there will be a 30-minute fireworks show, which is touted as one of the biggest in the country and will be synchronized to a live performance from the Nashville Symphony.
Lauren Alaina will perform during A Capitol Fourth, an annual Independence Day special on PBS. Luke Combs will also perform. A Capitol Fourth, hosted by John Stamos, will air live from the West Lawn of the White House on July 4th at 8pm ET on PBS.
AJ (fave 4th of July memory) OC: …very cool. :58
Well, this one is hard to beat. A couple of years ago, maybe longer than that now, I had an old boat in Florida. It’s like an old antique motor yacht, and it was kind of a cool old boat. I had taken that boat, I’ve always wanted to take it up north like to New York and up in that area, up in the northeast where it’s so pretty. So, we took the boat up there and Denise and the girls, we all went up. They like going to New York City, which I don’t really care about going to the city. So, I got to stay in my boat there at the harbor tied up, which was cool anyway. So they spent time in the city a few days and then that was Fourth of July, and we went out in the Hudson River that night and they shot the fireworks off and we were anchored out in front of the Statue of Liberty and New York City was behind us, and the Statue of Liberty and the fireworks were going off sitting on that boat. That was the coolest thing and my girls still talk about that. I mean, that was the coolest thing on Fourth of July I can ever remember. I can’t top that one probably. It was emotional sitting there watching the Statue of Liberty and thinking about all that. It was very cool.”
Billy Currington (4th of July) OC: …of my life. :16
“My best memories would be hanging out with my mom, brother and sister on the beach on Tybee Island right off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. We’d go there every year, and we’d light our own fireworks and watch the ones that they had for us. They were the best times, some of the best times of my life.”
Brandon Lay (Fourth of July) OC: …good times. :47
“I remember everybody hanging out at my grandmother’s and we would drive down the road to a fireworks stand off the side of Highway 45 out there in Jackson [Tennessee]. Just getting the bottle rockets and Black Cats and bringing ‘em back to the house, it felt like it was an eternity before it got dark. We just kept wanting to light ‘em and our parents would tell us it ain’t time, but just how exhilarating it was to see ‘em shoot up. We’re not talking big time fireworks here, but you would’ve thought that it was. It’s funny just how you remember things, but I just remember a screen door at my grandmother’s, running in and out, in and out, in and out and four wild little cousins running around. It was good times.”
Clare Dunn (Fourth of July) OC: …with your family. 1:12
“Fourth of July is probably one of the biggest memories for me, because it’s always during harvest time. And harvest time, being a farmer, is your most important time of the year. It’s always nine-o. It’s always busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, but we always go into town, depending on what field we’re at. A lot of my memories are South Grenada, Colorado, we farm just south of that town, and we go into town and get Mexican food, a great Mexican food place called Shorty’s, and we get tostados and enchiladas and we take them back out to the field. And everybody stops for a second and we eat on the hoods or the tailgates of pickups, and we’re just all out there in the field taking a brief moment to eat dinner and then get back to cutting. And if you’re lucky you’ll see some fireworks from town. Those are some of my favorite memories growing up because you’re all out there working. You’re together, and it’s just the moment of pride, of getting the harvest in and getting to be with your family.”
Darius Rucker (fireworks) OC: …off once. :15
“Oh, I love fireworks. We had the bottle rocket fights and all that good stuff. I was the typical little crazy kid, you know. In South Carolina, it was always legal, so we shot fireworks when it was legal. We did all that sort of stuff. I almost blew my hand off once.”
Dierks (people are America) OC: …all about. :17
“The definition of America to me, you know, getting a chance to travel across the country on a tour bus, stepping upon stages whether it be county fairs, state fairs, arenas, rock bars, the Opry stage, anywhere across the country and looking out at that crowd and seeing people. The people, to me, are what America’s all about.”
Eric Church (4th of July) OC: …freedoms. 1:17
“The Fourth of July for me, growing up we would always go to the lake, we didn’t live on the lake but we would all go to the lake. Had a buddy who had a pontoon and we would always get on the pontoon and you go out and you’d tie all the pontoons together and just have a big time. This was before, I was younger then, the adults were having more fun than we were, you know it was just to go swim in the water and shoot off fireworks. Basically, water tailgating is what it was. And then as we got older, same thing…we would just, us younger kids had our own boat and we had as much fun as the adults.”
Jordan Davis (Fourth of July) 2 OC: …really cool. :17
“Probably baseball games, firework shows at baseball games. We’d go to Shreveport Captains games, so yeah, we’d do that or barbecues and fireworks. I can remember being on the lake for a couple of Fourth of Julys. We’d take the boat out and we’d watch the downtown fireworks show from the boat, which was really cool.”
Josh Turner (fireworks) OC: …of money. [laughs] :20
“Yeah, we had fireworks around, especially my Daddy’s family. All the individual families had a lot of competition with each other and tried to outdo each other to try to see who had the biggest and baddest fireworks and all that. [laughs] My daddy, I think, was the smartest one. He just went out and bought maybe $25 worth of fireworks and let everybody else put on the big show, so he saved a lot of money.” [laughs]
Keith Urban (coming to America 1st time) OC: …as I could. :39
“1989 was the first year I came to the States, and it had always been my goal, but I had no plan on how to get here. It was just a case of keep playing, keep getting better at what you do, and then hopefully, somehow, some way I’ll end up over here. The guy who was managing me at the time, we just planned a trip over here – it was actually for the New Music Seminar in New York. And we came over for that, and then we did a trip down to Nashville, and I was shopping my little demo around. I think I humored everybody more than anything else [laughs] with my tragic, ill-fitting demo for the time. So, I left there, but I was just so committed to coming back as quick as I could.”
Lady A (4th of July-Hillary) OC: …on my hand. :29
“For many, many years in a row, we would be up at the lake for Fourth of July, and having those memories of being on the boat and going tubing and skiing and enjoying being out in the summertime, great weather on the water. But, then for me, Fourth of July was when [husband] Chris [Tyrell] proposed. So, I got proposed to on July 2nd up at the lake, the same lake I grew up going to, and so that’s probably the biggest highlight of Fourth of July to me – getting a rock on my hand.”
Lady A (Fourth of July-Dave) OC: …and America. :45
“July fourth is always, for me, my birthday week. My birthday is July 5th so we grew up going on family trips to the beach. We would always go to Hilton Head, South Carolina and always take trips for my birthday, so that’s always a fun time of the year…watch fireworks. I think my best memory would be my birthday party when I was 9 or 10 years old. We went to the batting cages and I remember I was swinging so hard, it was 100 degrees outside, I was swinging in the batting cage and ended up passing out right there in the batting cage. You’re trying so hard to hit the ball, you’re a kid and you really don’t realize how much water you should be drinking and [CHARLES: “Dave was that kid.”] I was that kid who was on the ground in the batting cage, people fanning and pouring water all over my face. Happy Birthday to me and America.”
LBT (military) OC: (Karen) …whenever we can. (Kimberly: “Yeah.”) :22
“It’s such a huge sacrifice what these men and women do for us, and not only the ones that are serving, but the families that are left here at home. I mean, it’s just a huge commitment that they make, and what an honor. We love to be able to sing for them and entertain them and to say thank you whenever we can.” (Kimberly: “Yeah.”)
Luke Bryan (4th of July memories) OC: …we used to. :21
“Some of my favorite Fourth of July memories were spent on Lake Blackshear down in Georgia with my family. I was always kind of in charge of driving home from Tennessee and picking up all the fireworks and my nieces and nephews always got excited when I rolled in because they knew I had all the fireworks. But, it was always a great memory, and I miss not getting to do that as much as we used to.”
Maddie & Tae (Fourth of July) OC: …it’s perfect. :29
TAE: “One of my favorite Fourth of July traditions – I’d say it’s a tradition ‘cause it happens every year, but I’m not always able to make it – is that we go to my grandparents in Oklahoma, and we all line up lawn chairs right in front of their garage and we just light fireworks. We always do it far away and then we light it, and we always run back and watch the fireworks, but that’s probably one of my favorite memories.” MADDIE: “My birthday is July 7th, so I always get built-in fireworks for my birthday, and sometimes we actually celebrate it on the 4th, because there’s fireworks everywhere, so it’s perfect.”
Sam Hunt (Fourth of July) OC: …good time. :39
“My granddad on the other side of my family, he would always take a lot of pride…fireworks were actually, I’m from Georgia, and most of them were illegal, I’m pretty sure, growing up. But over in Alabama, that’s where all the firework stands were, and we only had to drive 10, 15 minutes to get to the Alabama line, so we could go get a bundle of fireworks pretty easy. But he would always take a lot of pride in going and finding all the good stuff, and coming back with a big pile. He’d have his torch out there at the end of the driveway and we’d all eat homemade ice cream and put down towels on the driveway and he’d shoot off fireworks for 30-45 minutes. Such a good time.”
Travis Denning (Fourth of July) OC: …will love. :51
“Fourth of July in Warner Robins, Georgia is an event. It’s something else. In fact, forever they’ve thrown an Independence Day concert, and back in the day, it was huge. It was the biggest thing they did all year. They would actually have the concert in the MAC (McConnell-Talbert Stadium), which was the high school football stadium that Warner Robins and Northside and Houston County shared. I mean, one year they had Wynonna play and then they had Josh Turner one year, Darius Rucker. I mean it was like a big deal, and there’d be 15,000, 20,000 people there, and I think it’s so cool that there’s a little bit of a legacy of people coming together in that town and making something happen, you know? I’ll never forget going to those shows and thinking, I was more proud of what the city had done. I was like, ‘That’s just so cool that they could put together a show like this, an event that everybody will love.”
Kip Moore, Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and Brandon Lay were among the country stars taking part in the 2018 ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp this past week. The artists work with the campers who have Williams Syndrome, a developmental disability, to create music and enjoy a wide variety of musical activities.
Kip, along with songwriters Ross Copperman and Jon Nite, led the songwriting workshop in which they penned a song called “One Voice” with the campers.
On Monday, the campers recorded the song at Oceanway Studio with producer and co-writer Ross Copperman, along with Hillary Scott. “It was such an unbelievable thing to witness,” she says. “My heart is full.”
Hillary adds, “I’m a huge proponent for music in everybody’s life in some way and just the power of it and just how healing it can be and what an outlet it can be, so when I got asked to be a part of this – and I actually think I may have invited myself to the party, I was just so excited just to see the impact that music makes. But it’s not just the music, it’s their hearts and what they’re bringing to it. And to see that they wrote this song with Ross and Kip Moore and Jon Nite and just getting in that creative space with them had to be just life-changing. It’s the power of music.”
Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley and Kelsea Ballerini are among the artists who have previously participated in the ACM Lifting Lives Music Camp.
Lady Antebellum’s pulsating Top 15 and climbing single “Heart Break” tapped into the thousands of creators throughout the world in the Genero community as personalized videos were produced to highlight the title track of their No. One selling sixth studio album, HEART BREAK. The trio sifted through all submissions landing on grand prize winner GedMedia who earned $10,000 after parlaying the track’s independent-driven lyrics into a storyline of social media snapshots, becoming the multi-PLATINUM selling band’s official lyric video. Additionally the runner-up video produced by Brendan Huza shares distinct abstract visuals integrated by timeless and descriptive imagery into a standout message on the freedom of female empowerment.
“With every submission you could just feel the passion and time that went into each video which made it extremely hard to narrow it down,” said Hillary Scott. “This was one of my favorite songs off the record that we collectively wrote and to see the effort it took to bring its lyrics to life makes us even more grateful to our fans.”
To watch Lady A’s official lyric video for “Heart Break” produced by GedMedia click here: http://umgn.us/HBCreatorsEdit1
Watch Brendan Huza runner-up “Heart Break” submission here: http://umgn.us/HBCreatorsEdit2
Additional runner-up selections can be viewed on Lady A’s YouTube Play list here: https://bit.ly/2tpFRYT
HEART BREAK follows more than 18 million album units, nine No. One hits, ACM and CMA “Vocal Group of the Year” trophies three years in a row and countless other honors including seven GRAMMYs, Billboard Music Awards, People’s Choice Awardsand Teen Choice Awards. The multi-PLATINUM trio will team with Darius Rucker this summer for their co-headlining SUMMER PLAYS ON TOUR, kicking off July 19th. For more information visit www.ladyantebellum.com.