Entertainment Music

Lady Antebellum feeling great about new LP 'Heart Break'

By Jane Stevenson, Postmedia Network

(Handout)

(Handout)

A break led to Heart Break for Lady Antebellum.

And that’s a good thing in this case.

The country trio’s latest studio record, Heart Break in disaster, preceded by the upbeat first single, You Look Good, came after singers Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley, and guitarist Dave Haywood, took a hiatus in late 2015 following the 2014 release of Lady Antebellum’s 747.

During the time apart, Scott released a gospel album (Love Remains) with her mother, father and sister, Kelley released a solo album (The Driver), and Haywood produced new female trio, Post Malone’s EP.

“Honestly, we just wanted to finally have some time to really make a great record,” explained Kelley of the break.

“We’ve never had too many issues when it comes between our relationship. It was just more time to devote to the artistic process. It definitely made me appreciate that this is what we need to do moving forward, every time we make a record. This is definitely the [model].”

We caught up with the threesome in Toronto recently before they return for three summer tour stops in Canada including a June 29 date at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage.

Did the time apart make you appreciate each other more?

Scott: Absolutely. We were just so efficient. But it came together, sort of writing in September, and we finished the record in January.

Haywood: I think we had so many writing ideas that we came in with too. You’re not burned [out]. This was like we had a good year to kind of decompress, chase some projects and then come back with all these fresh ideas, lyric ideas, and just different inspiration and excitement.

Did the side projects influence the sound on Heart Break?

Scott: We didn’t work on anything on that year off, unless we were really, really passionate [about it]. And so, I think, we brought that back in like, ‘Let’s just really, really make sure we do right by every single song and not just throw one of them on there because we think it fits. We want to love it. We want to imagine ourselves performing it, connecting that song to the fans.’ And so I think that passion, we all carried into this process.

I read that Heart Break is the “spiritual follow-up” to 2010’s Need You Now?

Scott: Our producer [busbee], he said, “I really believe when I listen to the Need You Now album, which is our second studio album, there’s not a song to skip. I want to feel the way I felt, with the freshness and with the new excitement, when I would listen to that record.’ And so that was kind of his personal goal. And so he set a really high bar. I feel like this album is extremely empowering, positive and has its moments of really raw vulnerability but it’s also celebrating life I think in every way, the ups and the downs, in our families, in our kids, in lost love, all of it.

Kelley: Busbee, definitely, the way he captures [music], it’s got a modern feel to it but it’s still kind of familiar in a way. He just likes to make solid, timeless music. Like you listen to the [Grammy nominated country newcomer] Maren Morris record. It feels fresh and new but it’s got a lot of older sounding [songs] like [her breakout hit] My Church. Like the way he captures it, it feels like it could have been recorded back in the ‘70s. He’s just really good at that. I just think the quality of songs, this is the strongest batch of songs we’ve had in a long time.”

How are the new songs translating live?

Scott: You Look Good, we’ve had so much fun performing that song live. We have horns and stuff out on tour with us now. We brought a trumpet and a trombone player out with us and just the way that it’s sculpting our show differently too is just really fun. It’s exciting for us.

Kelley: Hopefully, you can see how much fun we’re having. We’re kind of refreshed. We’re ready to get out and work. We’re getting to get out on the road because we haven’t just come out of the studio and not had any time to push the reset button. We’re ready. Again, like Hillary said, just the way that these horns have elevated our show, I’m excited for people to see that. It’s hard to not have fun and get out of your seat when you got a horn section back there.

Twitter: @JaneCStevenson

JStevenson@postmedia.com