After winning multiple GRAMMYs, ACMs, and other awards over the past several years, and selling albums and singles by the millions, Lady A is now one of the biggest acts in contemporary country music. Which is quite an accomplishment, considering the power trio of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood debuted as a group only half a dozen years ago.
And will all the success they’ve enjoyed so far, the three bandmates proved this year they are still eager to take chances and evolve in new musical directions. Witness “Downtown,” the first single from Golden. Released earlier this year, the song is defined by a fun and funky rhythm and some truly sassy vocal work from Hillary Scott.
“Most of what the world has seen from Hillary on a singles standpoint is like ‘American Honey,’ ‘I Run To You’ and ‘Just A Kiss,’ this very kind of sweet style,” Charles explains about “Downtown.” “But she’s got a lot of sass and a lot of grit to her voice, too. We wanted to showcase that different side of Hillary. We thought it would be a lot of fun, too.”
“I personally thought that Hillary sang the best she’s ever sung on this record,” Dave chimes in. “I mean there’s a lot more charisma and there’s a lot of excitement.”
“This was definitely a departure for us,” Charles explains, “but it’s something really fun. And it showed us that we can stretch ourselves and get outside our comfort zone, and that fans will dig it. And for me it showed, seeing the success of it, how ready the fans were ready for something different from us. Just something fun and sassy, and not so serious.”
Charles wasn’t kidding about the song’s “success,” either — it topped the charts last month, the fastest-rising single of the trio’s career to date.
Stylistically, the new album Golden features a variety of new material, from “All for Love,” a duet that takes a back-and-forth, his-and-her point of view, to the tearjerker “It Ain’t Pretty” (a song Dave Haywood calls “really exposed” and “the most honest thing I think we’ve done”), to what they describe as a “throwback” rocker called “Better Off (Now That You’re Gone).”
The latter was written by one of Charles Kelley’s favorite songwriters, Will Hoge. “I was a big fan of Will Hoge before I moved to Nashville,” Charles admits. “I kinda geeked up on him for a while. He’s got such a great voice.”
The song, he continues, is “such a rocker” and “almost feels like something Tom Petty would have done.” Which is exactly the sound the bandmates were looking for. “We went into this record [saying that] we know that we want a good ‘roll down your windows’ type record, so we need some songs that feel a little throwback, a little ’70s, and really drive. And this is one of those.”
Golden track listing:
1. Get To Me
2. Goodbye Town
3. Nothin’ Like The First Time
5. Better Off Now (That You’re Gone)
6. It Ain’t Pretty
7. Can’t Stand The Rain
9. Long Teenage Goodbye
10. All For Love
11. Better Man
12. Generation Away
Golden is available for preorder on iTunes.