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Lady Antebellum Embraces Their Successful Ride by Owning the Night
09.27.11
4864242 When Lady Antebellum burst onto the country scene in the fall of 2007, no one could have predicted the fact that in two short years the trio’s star would shoot into the stratosphere with a little album titled Need You Now. Lady A’s sophomore disc brought them cross-over recognition and a slew of Grammys earlier this year.

Amidst the success of Need You Now, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood headed back into the recording studio to craft their highly anticipated follow-up Own the Night. The 12-track project features “Just a Kiss,” a song that has already topped the country singles chart for two weeks and is making huge waves in the worlds of pop and adult contemporary, and Lady A’s current country chart-climber “We Owned the Night.”

With the album making its debut at number one on the Billboard 200 sales chart and their second headlining tour on the horizon, Lady A is already poised to fully embrace the concept that is the heart of Own the Night.

On the eve of embarking on what looks to be a very busy fall, we caught up with the award-winning group in Nashville to chat about the pressures of success, creating their new album and their upcoming first appearance on Saturday Night Live, as well as Hillary’s engagement to musician Chris Tyrell.

You just came off one of the biggest albums of last year with Need You Now. Going into making this new record Own the Night, did the pressure of living up to Need You Now ever get to you? Or, were you able to shut that out and focus creatively?

Dave: We did our best to try not to let some of that pressure change the way we did this record. We’ve said it before, but you know that album kind of came about with no expectations. We were just in there making music. Our producer Paul Worley was great about helping us just capture those songs the way that they were written.

We’re obviously very thankful for stuff like the Grammys and any of those awards and accolades from the Need You Now record, but we didn’t let that change the way we went about this one.

You call “We Owned the Night” the cornerstone of the album. It’s the title of your tour this fall and latest single. Could you tell me a little bit about writing that one and how it factored into the project?

Hillary: The boys wrote that with [hit songwriter] Dallas Davidson. We just felt like it was a great song to perform live. It just felt very “live” from the very beginning. When I heard it for the first time, I loved it. Then when we got into the studio and recorded that song, it inspired me to the point of going and grabbing a legal pad and start sketching out the stage and just thinking about our live show.

 

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New Artist Spotlight: Frankie Ballard
09.26.11
frankie-ballard1 His soul is Country. His style is to play loud and raw. His voice is husky and hard, toughened perhaps by rocking rough-and- tumble clubs near his hometown of Battle Creek, Mich. And in his slashing guitar, there’s a heavy dose of Southern rock flavored by the blues, as if Jerry Reed and Johnny Winter were jamming ZZ Top songs with Waylon Jennings.

Put it all together and you’ve got Frankie Ballard, whose music grabs the listener by the shoulders and yells, “It’s time to tear it up!” Ballard started singing at age 5, when his dad began spinning Elvis records for him. Still, he devoted most of his time to sports until he turned 18, when he first picked up a guitar. With ferocious dedication, Ballard woodshedded for hours every day, until he felt strong enough to land gigs at Motor City blues venues. His chops and stage presence grew to the point that in the summer of 2008 he won Kenny Chesney’s “Next Big Star” regional competition for Michigan.

After opening for Chesney in Grand Rapids and Detroit, Ballard scored a publishing deal with Sony ATV Music Publishing and a record label deal with Warner Bros. Records. Relocated to Nashville in April 2009, he connected with some of the top local songwriting talent and eventually started turning the results into the sizzling set to be featured on his upcoming self-titled debut album, produced by Michael Knox.

Written by Dallas Davidson and Marty Dodson, Ballard’s first single and music video, “Tell Me You Get Lonely,” starts quietly with a beat that intensifies as it locks onto a steady medium pace. His vocal is rough but expressive, and on the harmonies in the chorus he maintains that feel while hitting his parts flawlessly. Other tracks crank it up (“While the Sun Sleeps,” by Rhett Akins, Davidson and Ben Hayslip) or slow it down to a last-call plea from one who’s sipped too much but loved not enough (“Sober Me Up,” by Davidson and Ashley Gorley). In all settings, Ballard tempers heartache with humor and lets his guitar tell the story too.

To read the original article, click here.

 
Luke Bryan's Star is Exploding with the Release of his Third Album, Upcoming Tour
09.13.11
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — If Luke Bryan had a different birthday, he might have been a star athlete instead of a music star.

He was born on July 17th. That meant he made the Georgia age cut-off to start kindergarten barely a month after his fifth birthday and was grouped in with other kids who were sometimes a year ahead of him developmentally.

"I was the youngest kid in my grade," said Bryan. "If I would've been held back a year, I don't even know if I would even be doing what I'm doing, because I think I would've been further down the road athletically," Bryan said in a recent interview. "I think because I wasn't the best baseball player at the time or whatever, I kind of focused more on music and it took me down a whole 'nother path."

Bryan, 35, is thankful for how things turned out.  Last month, he released his third studio album, "Tailgates and Tanlines" and it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's country albums chart with more than 145,000 copies sold in its first week. He is also launching his first major headlining tour this week, and last week, he garnered a CMA nomination in the new artist category.

"I think he is one of the most on-fire artists right now," said Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood, who co-wrote Bryan's first No. 1 hit, "Do I," with Bryan and Lady A's Charles Kelley. "I think he's our next big superstar. He's such an entertainer."

Bryan has built on the success of his sophomore album, "Doin' My Thing," which produced three back-to-back No. 1 singles. He co-wrote eight of the 13 songs on the new album, including the lead-off single, "Country Girl (Shake It For Me)." The song was a top five hit and has registered over 1 million downloads.

"I think with this one, I've just been able to put together a more well-rounded album than I guess than the previous two," said Bryan. "This one, I just felt like it's got a little bit of everything that people may want on there. I've got a couple songs on there that are a lot more serious than I've ever done, and then I've got some fun and light stuff. Case in point, 'Country Girl (Shake It For Me)' being about as fun and as light as you can get."

Bryan penned the tune with Dallas Davidson, his long-time friend and one of Nashville's most sought-after songwriters, thanks to hits written for acts like Blake Shelton and Keith Urban. Davidson and Bryan grew up in the same area of Georgia and went to college together.

"Luke is at the top of his game right now," said Davidson. "I've always told my publisher, 'Luke Bryan gets first shot at any of my songs.' That's the law."

 

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