Lady Antebellum has been generating buzz since 2006. With the release of their self-titled album, the trio has finally given fans what they have been waiting for.
M&C was lucky enough to get a quick chat with guitarist/singer Dave Haywood about the album, how the trio got started, and how they create their sound.
Lady Antebellum is a magical formula consisting of Hillary Scott (vocals), Charles Kelley (vocals), and Haywood (vocals, acoustic guitar, keys).
The trio of songwriter/musicians has blended their musical influences to create an album that is fresh and familiar at the same time.
M&C: With ‘Lady Antebellum’ did you feel you were capturing something special while you were recording it? What were the recording sessions like and how did you capture that energy?
Haywood: These were all songs that we had written except for one on the record. We felt very excited about each of the songs individually. I can vividly remember being in the studio with our producers Paul Worley and Victoria Shaw, and having that feeling of creating something unique and special with these songs.
When you are recording songs that you have written from scratch, you really put your entire heart and soul into them.
M&C: I am sure you get asked this a lot, but what is the story behind your name? I have read the name reflects your sound. Can you explain this?
Haywood: We do get it a lot!! It’s all good, we knew when we came up with this name that we’d have to explain it everyday for the rest of our lives. We were taking some photos one day in front of some old ‘antebellum’ style houses in Nashville, and that word came out and it just kinda stuck. The word has a nostalgic feel to it, and in a weird way we felt that reflected our sound and what we were going for.
M&C: How did the three of you get together? What clicked in your minds when you performed for the first time that told you – “This feels right”?
Haywood: I can remember our very first show in August of 2006, and the chemistry we had on stage was that special ‘thing’ that made all three of us go “man this works!” From that show on we knew we had created something we were all passionate about it.
M&C: Your music seems to be a blend of traditional country elements with a fresh new sound. Is there a certain sound you set out to achieve when you are crafting your songs or do you just let the music take you where it will?
Haywood: I really just feel we let the music take us wherever it goes! We all pull from a lot of the same influences, to name a few groups like the Eagles, Allman Brothers, etc….and I feel like our song structure and lyrics come from somewhat of that era. When we’re writing though, we just start with an idea and let it kind of go where it goes.
M&C: Many of your songs, such as “Love Don’t Live Here” and “Lookin’ For A Good Time,” seem to tell a story. How do you go about writing the lyrics for the songs? What is your writing process?
Haywood: When we write, we start with a simple guitar or piano riff or melody to get us in a groove. Then from there we kinda start blurting out melodies with random lyrics to establish a structure.
Then we all three sit and see where the song lyrics may be taking us, or what we want to write about. It’s such an enjoyable process and that’s what the three of us really clicked on initially.
M&C: “Love Don’t Live Here” is the perfect way to start the album and really seems to set the tone for all the songs. Did you know when writing it how well it was going to turn out?
Haywood: The song really came out a lot better than we predicted. It really showed itself as the first single AFTER we recorded it in the studio. It felt like it really set us apart at the time.
The sound of the song seemed unique for what was out at the time, and we just didn’t over think it and went with our gut!
M&C: How did you decide to make it the first track on the album and the lead single?
Haywood: As far as being the first track on the album, we wanted to make sure people could identify with us first, and then let them slide into the rest of the record.
M&C: How do you go about figuring out who will do the vocals on the songs? Are there ever clashes about who will sing what?
Haywood: You know within the first 5 minutes of writing a song it will kind of show itself as to if it’s a Hillary lead vocal or Charles lead vocal.
More of the southern rock style ‘gritty’ tunes lean towards Charles, and certain vocal melodies lend themselves to Hillary for sure.
M&C: Are there ever creative struggles when you are writing music?
Haywood: The only creative struggle we had was when Hillary was die hard early on about the first song we wrote being a duet. It was supposed to be just a Hillary vocal, but she convinced Charles to make it a duet. Next thing you know we had the duet version of “All We’d Ever Need”, and that was the start of Lady A!
M&C: The album seems to be the perfect blend of country, rock and even a little pop. What were your musical influences and did those influences make their way into the album?
Haywood: Absolutely they did. I know all three of us pull from vocal groups like the Eagles, Allman Brothers, etc.. Hillary loves R&B music and traditional country, Charles pulls from a lot of southern rock, and I (Dave) really love guitar players like James Taylor. We really try to mesh everything into one big pile!
M&C: What is next for Lady Antebellum?
Haywood: We’re just excited to finally get the album out to people! Been so excited about it and we hope we can play in front of as many people as we can. Got a bunch of fairs and festivals this summer, so hope to see you out there!!!