At the core of Lady Antebellum’s upcoming album are two elements that define compelling music: vulnerability and honesty.
This begins with the first single off the new project, “What If I Never Get Over You.” Written by Ryan Hurd, Laura Veltz, Sam Ellis and Jon Green, the contemplative ballad finds the male and female narrators taking a hard look at their feelings for one another, wondering if they’ll be able to move from the pure love formed between them. The song is a callback to familiar times, drawing welcomed comparisons to Lady A’s massive hit “Need You Now” that catapulted them into superstardom with its theme of poignant heartbreak captured by the trio’s tender harmonies.
“In a way, it kind of feels like coming home,” Hillary Scott describes to Sounds Like Nashville and other media of the new song that touches on longing and heartbreak. “This one just felt like us,” observes Dave Haywood. “To be able to tell both sides of the male and female perspective is something that I feel like we just got away from a little bit and so it’s exciting to be back doing that again. It feels like we’re kind of returning to the core of who we are, what we do.”
Returning to their comfort zone follows years of them stepping out of it. After achieving a string of No. 1 hits anchored by the duet format on such beloved songs as “I Run to You,” “Just a Kiss” and “We Owned the Night,” the trio knew they had to stray from familiarity in order to evolve, like with the swanky “Bartender” and jazz-infused “You Look Good.” “We’re growing up. Our music is growing and we’re evolving in front of the world, so there’s definitely been hits and misses and us trying to navigate how to stay creatively true to ourselves in the process, and that’s been pretty vulnerable,” Scott explains. “I feel like we all know ourselves and each other better and that only comes I think with age and being willing to look at yourself in the mirror honestly. I think that’s showing itself in the songwriting process.”
Taking a genuine look at oneself is an integral part of the album making process, particularly on two songs that double as passion projects for Scott and Charles Kelley where open heartedness is at the center. Not long after the birth of her twin girls Betsy and Emory in January 2018, Scott co-wrote a song titled “Let it Be Love” alongside Amy Wadge and Jordan Reynolds from the viewpoint of motherhood, one that Kelley raves is “really powerful,” noting that it could’ve been a natural fit on her Grammy winning Christian album, Love Remains. Scott shares that being a mother of three daughters, Wadge the mother of two and Reynolds a married man, the song speaks to the struggles human beings face, but also how “we are given the choice to choose love and to let it be love that we choose in the midst of all the other emotions we feel in certain circumstances,” she explains. “So it’s kind of prayer to my girls in a way, also just very much keeping myself in check too, making sure that I’m leading from that place and not letting anger or envy or a lack of humility be where my decisions are being made.”
For Kelley, his vulnerability manifests in the personal “Be Patient With My Love.” The singer is candid when discussing a self-admitted “mini mid-life crisis” he endured relating to his drinking habits, taking the words of his wife and band mates to heart while taking the initiative to combat the issue. The soul-baring song that Kelley cites as “pretty deep” allowed him to open up about his personal trials to the people he’s closest to, along with the fans that have supported them for more than a decade, in a way he hasn’t before.
“This past couple of years for me has been an interesting journey. I’ve definitely had a little bit of a ‘come to Jesus’ with my wife and the band about controlling my drinking. So I felt like through that process I really kind of got more in touch with my spirituality too,” he explains. “A lot of my struggles have brought us closer together and there’s stuff that we can talk about now that we never used to talk about…It’s just natural stuff I think that we all can go through, and it was very therapeutic to actually talk about it and put it into a song.” “In that vulnerability there’s a lot of courage and bravery that comes out of speaking your truth and being honest,” Haywood commends of Kelley for writing the song. “I hope people dig deep and find relatability in that courage.”
Digging deep to connect with these emotions is what the trio hopes fans recognize is this triumphant return to their roots, with Scott defining their goal of creating “a really special piece of art as a whole.” “We are very comfortable with who we are and we’re not afraid to share a little bit of the some of the darker sides. There’s definitely a lot of layers being pulled back,” Kelley reflects. “It’s definitely a deeper record.”
Lady Antebellum returns to Las Vegas for their residency at the Palms Casino Resort for a series of dates beginning on Aug. 23.