april 2008

Lady Antebellum
Capitol Nashville

A powerhouse trio comprised of Hillary Scott, Charley Kelley and Dave Haywood, Lady Antebellum is charging out of the box with not only the strongest country debut of this young year but a record that could become a mainstream classic. Terrific original songs, expressive singing and striking, country-rock arrangements mark the group's turf right from the git-go, in the album opening hit single, "Love Don't Live Here." "Looking For a Good Time" follows, a driving, crunching, pull-no-punches, bald-faced expression of lust for a one-night stand, featuring ferocious guitar riffing and dramatic give-and-take vocal tradeoffs between Scott and Kelley. No nihilists or hedonists this trio, though: about the time you catch your breath after the opening assault of the jangling, Byrds-like guitars energizing 'Love Don't Live Here," and the full-frontal heat of "Looking For A Good Time," the Antebellums settle into "All We'd Ever Need," a regret-filled power ballad detailing the narrator's all-consuming guilt over throwing away a good thing; as it ascends from an opening, string-enhanced reflective passage featuring Scott's sorrow-filled laments to a soaring, thundering midsection and closing built around Kelley's plaintive, weathered testifying to wrongdoing, what should have been but will never be becomes heartbreakingly apparent. Well, so much for looking back in sorrow. "Long Gone" follows, echoing with Byrds and Springsteen flourishes in the rich organ support and cascading guitar lines as Scott and Kelley blend in captivating harmony to document the transformation of a once-gullible gal who's heard all the lines, all the promises, and is "gone like the wind under Superman's cape," mad as hell and not taking it anymore. It's as heartless a kissoff song as country music has produced in the past couple of decades, and despite its bitter, backbiting reflections, delightfully rockin' to boot when it kicks into high gear. It only gets better from here, in many ways.—David McGee

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (www.johnmendelsohn.com)
Website Design: Kieran McGee (www.kieranmcgee.com)
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY; www.flickr.com/audreyharrod), Alicia Zappier (New York)
E-mail: thebluegrassspecial@gmail.com
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024