Country Music

Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley on Their Latest Album and Being Back on the Road

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What have you done to reinvent this tour and make it different?

Well, the up-tempo material, for the most part. But also the production is bigger, there's a big high-definition screen behind us, we've got confetti and bigger lights. And also trying to pick moments in these last couple months where we actually go out into the crowd and it's kind of cool this year and I think we've always dreamed about that because when you're in an arena, how do you make this giant arena and a person in the back feel like they have good seats. So we've found a really cool way to kind of get out there in the crowd.

You're touring with Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves, what has it been like touring with them?

We're big fans of them. I think Kacey's made one of the best records in a long time, that I've heard, and we just really wanted to have her out with us. And then Kip, he's just so high energy and a great performer and they're a lot of fun. Kip comes back and plays Ping-Pong with us backstage (laughs) and everybody hangs out.

It's a really open atmosphere backstage -- everybody hangs out together and has a drink together and I think that's something we've always wanted to try to create on tour; a really welcoming, open atmosphere, so it is. It's been a lot of fun and the crowd's always excited by the time we get up on stage and I think that's the goal -- when people get to their seats, having, from start to finish, a really entertaining show and I think that's what we've got.

With Golden, has the creative process remained the same or have you tried anything new?

We actually tried to make it more organic than maybe the two records before it. There's three records and we tried to get back to the sound of the first record. Our second and third records had really big string sections and they were, for lack of a better word, really 'pretty' sounding records and we tried to make this one a little bit more organic. We like very polished sounding records, first and foremost, but I do think we tried to make this one a little bit more of not throwing everything into the kitchen sink, not laying ten electric guitars on it, just really trying to track it and let the vocals take center stage.

With your past records, you've had a lot of crossover success. Does this help influence you at all when you're writing new material?

I mean sometimes that definitely can be in the back of your mind because when you do have a crossover -- it was such a game changer for us and it was so big for our career - I think, sometimes it can be a crutch if you lean on it too much trying to chase that because you'll get away from what made you the band you are.

So we try not to think about it, I mean it is in the back of your head sometimes, but for us now, it's been a little while since we've had a crossover song because I think we try to get away from chasing that too much, you know, because country is where we want to be and that's our main fan base. So I don't know, I think even when it's working and we try to stay true to that much more, you know, and not worry about that kind of crossover thing.

What are some of your inspirations that you pulled from for Golden?

I think everyone pulls from real life and past experiences. I mean, right now we're all happily married, but no one wants to hear a record full of happy love songs for an entire record (laughs). So you have to pull from things that have happened in your past, and you're a storyteller so you have to try to constantly write songs that people relate to and that's always the goal - to write songs that people relate to.

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Chelsea Hough
Contact: Chelsea Hough