After making six albums in six years, multiplatinum country crossover trio Lady Antebellum, which performs Friday, Sept. 1, in Nampa, took a break. Singer Hillary Scott made a hit gospel album, “Love Remains,” with her parents and sister; singer Charles Kelley also released a solo project. Scott, Kelley and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood reunited for a new album, “Heart Break,” released in June.
A cheery Scott, on a break from a tour, phoned in from her home outside Nashville to talk about her least favorite song, her most embarrassing moment and why choosing the name “Lady Antebellum” may not have been the best idea. Following are excerpts from that conversation:
On their band’s controversial name:
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“I have to give Charles credit for the band name. He and Dave called me on speakerphone when we were trying to nail down a name, and I was like, ‘So, are y’all OK with being in a band named ‘Lady Antebellum’?’ And they said, ‘Yeah, it’s really cool.’ I remember thinking, if we get a record deal, that’ll be the first thing to go, but somehow it stuck. Looking back, it was like, how did that become our name? Charles had to explain to me what an antebellum home was, that it was a style of architecture, because I missed that day in Tennessee history class, but we liked how it sounded. It sounded country, and it had this layer of nostalgia. But once (fans started) calling us ‘Lady A,’ I was like, “Let’s just keep it that way.’ ”
On the advice she passes down to young tour opener Kelsea Ballerini:
“We’ve had plenty of conversations sitting on the couch in our yoga pants, with a glass of wine. We were the same age when our careers took off. … I think the hardest thing is just how much of a toll the schedule can take on you, on your body, on your personal life, on your friendships. It’s been more about caring about her heart and her well-being, which is what my mom would do for me. I’m just like, ‘Are you OK? Because I know what it’s like to be a young girl in this world, but you’re doing this as a solo artist, and I had my two brothers with me.’ ”
On whether she has ever had an experience similar to Taylor Swift’s assault by a DJ at a meet-and-greet:
“You do everything you can when you live such a public life to create a safe space around you, whether that’s at home or on tour. We let a lot of people into our world on the road, whether they be radio stations — it’s obviously a show, but it’s your safe space, so any time that ever feels like it’s been violated — that’s your home, as weird as it sounds. That warmth, and what we work so hard to create, the tour culture, and wanting it to be fun and enjoyable for everyone, and wanting everyone to feel like they’re being treated with respect, is incredibly important.”
When making their new album, they felt like Fleetwood Mac in the ‘70s.
“We would write and record at the same time, which happens a lot in the pop world. I’ve heard stories of Fleetwood Mac hunkering down in the studio for six months, and writing and recording at the same time.” (Except Fleetwood Mac was fueled by a lot of drugs) “And a lot of money! That’s so expensive. When you think of a (studio) day rate for six months? That’s a lot of money.”
On her least favorite Lady Antebellum song:
“I think my least favorite is (2008 single) ‘Lookin’ For a Good Time.’ It’s really fun live. I don’t ever get tired of singing ‘I Run to You’ or ‘Need You Now,’ or ‘American Honey.’ I think it’s just because of how long it’s been around. We’ve performed it so many times.”
On her most embarrassing onstage moment, which hasn’t happened yet:
“Oh, gosh. I thankfully have not fallen on stage yet, but both Charles and Dave have. They’ve gotten embarrassed more than me. … You help them up, and then you laugh (at them), once you know they’re OK.”
On what she remembers about her long-ago auditions for “American Idol” (She was rejected in the first round. Twice.):
“ I remember being nervous and awkward. You’re in a line with 30 people, five people wide, six people deep, and the panel points at you and goes, ‘Sing!’ And you’re like, ‘What?’ It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. It was awesome, though. We’ve been able to play the finale twice, and I would say, every time, it’s validating.”
When and where
Lady Antebellum: 7 p.m. Sept. 1, Ford Idaho Center Amphitheater, 16200 Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa. $39.75, $49.75 and $69.75. ICTickets. Opening: Kelsea Ballerini, Brett Young.
Lady Antebellum made it clear at its Aug. 17 Kansas City concert that its sound was taking a “hefty swerve,” Timothy Finn wrote in the Kansas City Star.
“Before the three emerged from back stage, two horn players (trombone, trumpet) warmed up the crowd, exchanging funky, jazzy solos as they bounded about the stage.
“The two would later play an integral part of the ensuing 95-minute set, adding some heavy New Orleans and Stax-Volt flavors to the trio’s pop/country/rock sounds.
“They have been branded a country band, but like similar-sounding bands (Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town), they willfully mix and cross genres. Their cover of Beyonce’s ‘Crazy Love,’ featuring opening act Kelsea Ballerini, was blatant evidence that they want to build bridges, not fences, between radio formats.”
The group struck a balance between older material and tracks from their new album, and included some covers.
“But mostly,” Finn wrote, “they stuck to their own material and focused on deploying those horns, which infused the material with dynamic, soulful energy, significantly benefiting songs like ‘Love Don’t Live Here’ and ‘You Look Good.’ ”