Now that “Need You Now” has changed their lives, the members of Lady Antebellum are ready to change the subject.
The country trio will release their follow-up to that Grammy-winning album on Sept. 13. “Own the Night” turns the page on a notable chapter in the story of Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley’s rise from promising country up-and-comers to one of the most successful crossover acts in music history. It’s time to move on.
“We don’t want anyone to think we’re a one-trick pony,” Kelley said in a phone interview with The Associated Press from Los Angeles. “That’s our goal, to say, ‘Hey, guys, we’ve got more coming.’”
“Need You Now” was the top-selling country album of 2010 with 3 million copies sold, and the title track was the top-selling digital download. Fans downloaded the song about an ill-advised and drunken late-night call to an old flame more than 3.1 million times last year. It was the rare country song that resonated across the spectrum of listeners, rising to No. 2 on Billboard’s pop music chart.
The song netted most of the major country awards, and Lady A won a leading five Grammys, including song of the year. The album produced three multiweek No. 1s on the country chart and pushed the trio into headliner territory on the road, where they spent much of 2010 after the January release of the album turned everything upside down.
“I think we’d be lying if we didn’t say it puts that little added pressure on us for this record,” Kelley said. “I think for us we’re just ready to have new music out there and have the conversation shift toward something different. My biggest fear is having the conversation keep being about a song that’s two or three years old. I feel as artists and musicians we’re ready to move on to the next chapter.”
Lady A began to spin the conversation forward with the May 2 release of their new single, “Just a Kiss,” and fans showed they’re receptive. The single debuted at No. 7 on the Hot 100, a record for a country group.
It’s a classic example of the trio’s strengths with Kelley and Scott harmonizing over a slow-burning track about simple emotions that most people can connect with.
Kelley said the trio now has a recognizable sound that will be featured on “Own the Night,” produced by Paul Worley. Much of the writing was done on tour buses with the trio inviting songwriters to accompany them for a week at a time. They invited old friends and new to write and brought in some up-tempo material from outside sources. They cut 14 songs over three months and have whittled that to 12 for the release.
“There’s a lot of songs I think that have a lot of nostalgia to them,” Kelley said. “I think when you’re out there on the road and you’re so busy, you tend to get a little more introspective and you start thinking about what road led you where you are. So there’s a lot of songs looking back at childhood or old love or whatever it may be.”