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Lady Antebellum: not-so-old road dogs learn new tricks

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2014

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Lady Antebellum's upcoming "747" is a case of a not-so-old band learning new tricks.

After a lukewarm response to 2013's "Golden" -- the first of the country trio's four previous albums not to sell platinum or better (though all hit No. 1 on the Billboard country charts) -- the three members of Lady A decided a shake-up was in order. So it stepped away from producer Paul Worley and brought in Nathan Chapman, worked with some new songwriting collaborators and rekindled some of the fire the group had when it emerged six years ago.

"I think we felt like after listening to the last record and seeing the reaction from the fans, it was kind of like, 'Alright, what have you done for me lately? This is a solid record, but we've heard it all before,' " says the group's Charles Kelley, 32, younger brother of fellow country singer Josh Kelley. "I think as a band we felt like it was time to start seeing what else was out there and try something else.

"So we set out to make our most energetic, in-your-face record we've ever made. There's a couple of ballads on there, but even the ones that are ballads groove pretty seriously. So we're very happy about it."

Fans appear to be, too; though "747" isn't due out until Sept. 30, the first single, "Bartender," is already a Top 5 hit on the country charts and at radio. Meanwhile, Kelley says Lady A was also refreshed by a maternity break it took last year for Hillary Scott, spending the better part of a year off the road and away from the touring treadmill for the first time ever.

"Country artists are always moving. There aren't many breaks like how a rock band can go away for three years and come back," Kelley notes. "During the break we had we gained a lot of perspective on just how when we're not on stage we all miss it. It's the greatest high you can ever have to go out there and sing these songs and have fans sing them back to you. I missed it

"There was a good seven months we were off the road, and when we came back all three of us kind of wanted to fight for it again. We were out of the public eye for awhile, so we're hungry to show we're still here and making great music and want to be here for a long time."

Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and Joe Nichols

7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22

DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township

Tickets are $29.25-$54 pavilion, $29.25 lawn with an $88 lawn four-pack

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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