I am always amazed when people feel they know all about my musical background. If we never sat down and discussed specific aspects about my education and career achievements, it is safe to assume you really have no clue. When I started learning music in high school, diversity was not a musical goal. To be honest, I did not know what I was going to do within the music industry. The view of my path did not become clear until my latter semesters of college. Once I started to take on various musical projects, I developed relationships with artists and industry execs across genre lines. What I learned was that music, and the people responsible for recording and performing music were not disparate. The goal of the musician is to make music for the enjoyment of others. The business aspect complicates the original goal of the artist greatly. Nevertheless, even though millions of dollars may be involved, the main objective is to create songs for others to hear and appreciate.
Several years ago, I was involved in a business meeting with a bass player who had a full forty-plus year career playing everything from rock & roll to classical music. At the time of our meeting, he was involved with producing country music. When asked about his time spent playing rock & roll, the veteran bassist said, “Music is music, it’s all the same. Playing rock & roll is like playing any other music.” His statement simplifies the art and even his accomplishments a great deal, but he was right. It all goes back to that goal of pleasing an audience regardless of the style of music.
Now let us flash ahead about fifteen years, I had the opportunity to work with a true fan of country music that made me aware of some of the bigger names at the time. As we listened, he made me aware of an up and coming group called Lady Antebellum. I thought the name was strange but later came to understand the origin. On the BBC Radio 2 Drivetime Show August 9, 2010, the band explained to the host, Liza Tarbuck that the name Antebellum comes from when the group was photographing “antebellum” homes. The antebellum architectural style describes the large plantation homes in the American South. The Latin word bellum means “war”; “antebellum” therefore means “before the war”. In America specifically, the antebellum era commonly refers to the period before the Civil War. While photographing the houses one group member said that there is a great band name in there, and they adopted the Lady Antebellum name shortly after.
That summer of 2008, Lady Antebellum had their first major hit, a song titled “Love Don’t Live Here” that steadily rose in the country charts to number three. Thus Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott have forged ahead to make Lady Antebellum a household name. Since that debut album Lady Antebellum back in 2008, the group is now looking forward to the release of studio album number six next month titled 747.
Like most country music acts, Lady Antebellum constantly tours, and records on average a studio album per year. Lady Antebellum also like many other country acts seem to make a major effort to reach out to their fans. At the same time I was listening to Lady Antebellum, another young woman by the name of Taylor Swift was starting to build her own following. As I watched and listened to an early Taylor Swift interview, I noticed that she was a young person whom I felt did not take newfound popularity for granted. Lady Antebellum seem to display the same characteristic. It is what I like to call musical humility. Maybe some of the bumps experienced on the way to success have humbled Lady Antebellum. In an interview with Sirius Satellite Radio, Hillary Scott claimed she was rejected from the hit show American Idol twice, not even making it past the first round. I am sure the other members of the group have experienced their own angst on the way toward success.
Lady Antebellum has built their reputation as a group that works hard and constantly. However, last summer Lady Antebellum found it necessary to take a break from the road for a very important reason: the impending birth of a daughter to singer Hillary Scott. The break came soon after the release of the group’s fourth studio album Golden. Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood continued to work and write more songs and music with a fresh sound for the group. The trio was not ready to release a new album, or move on from Golden. Lady Antebellum decided to postpone the fall tour, add three newly recorded songs to Golden and relaunch the album as a deluxe edition.
The next album scheduled for release September 30, 2014 747 also displays the group’s new and fresh sound. As for Lady Antebellum, they continue to tour and add new material. They cannot slow down!