When Lady Antebellum released 747 in 2014, it heralded a comeback of sorts for the superstar country band. Released on the heels of the lackluster Golden, the record reminded even the biggest naysayers of mainstream country music that there was a reason why LA are the standard-bearer for country music fans these days. Everything on 747 was on point: songwriting, delivery, and of course the melodies and harmonies.
Then, in a surprise to rocked everyone within country music, they decided to take a break.
In reality, the break turned out to be a true “hiatus” for the trio, one that helped recharge their creative juices and allow time for personal side projects, and not just a “nice guy” way to break the team up.
Taking inspiration from the time spent away from their work families and spent with actual family, Heart Break was the end result. The album, released earlier this year, has cemented the trio’s spot at the top of the country charts, and it doesn’t appear that their tenure there will be ending at any point soon.
One of the crowning achievements that a modern act can receive will occur tonight when the seven-time Grammy Award-winning group’s unprecedented Artists Den performance is beamed into cinemas worldwide via Fathom Events. Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood keep crowds on their feet for a fourteen-song set, featuring the first live performance of songs from Heart Break, as well as smash singles from their back catalog (“Need You Now,” “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”). This one-night event also features a look at the making of Heart Break, exclusive interviews and a special acoustic performance. The Artists Den performance will be available tonight at area theaters, with the North Hills and Brier Creek Stadiums’ in Raleigh and the Crossroads Stadium in Cary offering it to area fans at 7:30pm.
In honor of this achievement I was given the opportunity to speak to Hillary Scott. The young singer has had an impressively varied twelve months, having first achieved success on the Billboard charts with the release of the July 2016 gospel debut album of Hillary Scott & the Scott Family, Love Remains. I had a chance to discuss the juggling of the two projects’ promotional schedules with the young singer, as well as songwriting and Dancing With the Stars.
Isaac Weeks: I actually would like to start this by congratulating you on the success of Love Remains. That was one of the best albums I had the pleasure of listening to all of last year.
Hillary Scott: Oh my gosh, thank you so much. It was such a special project to be able to do, and experience, with them. I’m glad that it touched so many hearts; thats the ultimate compliment.
IW: After so much time spent promoting that album, and being on the road with your family in support of it as well, how hard has it been this summer to get back into full Lady Antebellum mode? What kind of whiplash have you had culturally?
HS: It’s really just been like riding a bike. The great thing is, when we decided to give the band a little creative break, the plan all along was to reconvene last fall and start working on new music. We didn’t have a timeline on when to be back in the routine of working on the new album, a deadline on when it should be done or anything, but we knew we wanted to tour. We were planning on this summer tour, and it was the only deadline we had really given ourselves. There was no whiplash, I have to say, because we were just so excited to get back. We were just refreshed, full of gratitude and excited about what the future of Lady Annie has to hold. It feels like the second chapter of Lady Antebellum right now.
IW: Just touching on the two sides of your music career that you’ve experienced over the past year. Lady Antebellum appeared on multiple television shows – including the season finale of Dancing With the Stars – to promote the band’s new album, and now you have this Fathom Events performance tonight, Artists Den Presents Lady Antebellum. Was the promotion behind the Scott Family album almost like a nice change of pace? Not that there wasn’t press behind it, but its not like Entertainment Tonight was tripping over themselves to book a spotlight piece on a Contemporary Christian act.
HS: I’ll say that it felt totally different, as it was a family album telling a family’s story, our journey through the ups and downs of life. Because my heart was entwined within it, not just because it was my family but because of the subject matter, it was different. It was very emotional; we made that album not knowing if 200 people would ever hear it, only to hear that it has touched so many people. That is where it overlaps with how it feels with Lady Antebellum. Of course there are different levels of promotion, but the bottom line is that this is what I feel like I was put on this world to do. Getting to talk about it is so important, no matter which album it is, because both are a part of my life that I feel called to share with the world in any way I can. So much of my heart is in both of these things, and switching roles within the two bands feels very seamless in a way.
IW: Looking over the song list for the new album, one thing that really grabs my attention is that the three members of Lady are extremely invested in the songwriting aspect of making music. That could be viewed as many music fans as very different than other musicians within country music these days.
HS: We started out as a songwriting team, so that’s really where everything begins for us. That was one thing, also, with taking a creative break; we have so much to say, from taking that time to live life with our families and friends, so we were able to come back into the writing room inspired by so many stories to pull from. We wanted this album to be the story of who we are, and where we are going, right now. We wanted this to be our voice, and I’m excited for the message. All of these songs are so relevant to where we are right now, and we had a story to tell.