12 Years Ago: Lady Antebellum Release Their Debut Album
Twelve years ago today (April 15, 2008), Lady Antebellum released their self-titled debut album. The Nashville trio formed in 2006, after a pair of childhood pals -- vocalist / guitarist Charles Kelley and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood -- met vocalist Hillary Scott.
“When we met Hillary is when everything started falling into place,” Haywood said in a 2008 interview promoting the Winstock Festival. “We just started writing songs with Hillary before we had a blip on the radar of thinking about doing a group, so we were just writing songs.
“Once we met her, we really clicked as songwriters, and as friends, and before we knew it, we had enough songs to play a show," he added, "and the group kinda came about just because of all that, of us just writing songs and wanting to play. It just kinda happened naturally.”
Unsurprisingly, Lady Antebellum quickly landed a label deal, in mid-2007, with Capitol Records. Following that break, the band earned a few more boosts, including singing on a hit by pianist Jim Brickman and placing a song on MTV's The Hills. However, Lady Antebellum proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that all this attention was well deserved.
Co-produced by Victoria Shaw and Paul Worley (the man who also discovered the Dixie Chicks), the record features 10 songs (out of 11) written or co-written by the band members. As a result, Lady Antebellum is a melting pot of styles and influences: Strings swell through the soulful ballad "All We'd Ever Need" and the folksy "One Day You Will"; "Love's Lookin' Good on You" is a bluesy strut with boogie-woogie piano; and mournful accordion smolders through "Can't Take My Eyes off You." Kelley and Scott trade off lead vocals and harmonize with one another (and Haywood), giving the songs grit and urgency.
"We've been influenced by everything," Kelley told The Boot in 2008. "We listen to all kinds of styles of music -- we never went in, when we started writing, to try to create a sound. We never said, 'Alright, we're going to write a country song. We're going to write an R&B song.' We wrote whatever came out and it kind of came out of all our influences."
Some country artists spend years trying to achieve a hit record ... but not Lady A: The trio became the first country band to have their first effort debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The 47,000 copies of Lady Antebellum sold during release week was also good enough for a No. 4 debut on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart. To date, the record has been certified double platinum.
Song-wise, Lady Antebellum was an unqualified success: All three singles landed in the country charts Top 15, with two songs -- the brisk, organ-flecked rocker "Love Don't Live Here" and the widescreen epic "I Run to You" -- landing at No. 3 and No. 1, respectively.
A tour with Martina McBride soon followed, as did a slew of honors: Lady A nabbed Top Vocal Group of the Year and Top New Duo or Vocal Group at the ACM Awards, New Artist of the Year at the 2008 CMA Awards and Single of the Year at the 2009 CMAs, for "I Run to You."
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