NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Before singer Charles Kelley and his Lady Antebellum bandmates started writing songs for their new album, Kelley's wife advised him to take a few chances rather than stick to the minimal, mellow sound that dominated the trio's last two albums.
"She was like, 'If I hear another one of these songs from you ... I'm going to be a little bored by it,'" Kelley said of the conversation with his wife, Cassie. "And I was like, 'That really hurts my feelings.' But then I stepped back and I was like, 'You know, she's right.'"
Others were having that same epiphany about the future of the Grammy-winning trio, who catapulted to stardom in 2009 with the multiplatinum pop hit "Need You Now."
Hillary Scott has a new perspective, thanks to her 1-year-old daughter, Eisele.
"I'm about to watch my daughter see the world for the first time, every single day," Scott said of her frame of mind as they started recording their fifth album, "747," released Tuesday. "Let's make this fun."
They amped up their sound by switching to producer Nathan Chapman, who helped Taylor Swift cross over from country to pop and also produced Lady A's last single, "Compass," from their 2013 album, "Golden."
The trio — rounded out by Dave Haywood — continued their pattern of recording with a live band to capture the energy in the studio, but then Chapman would stay up all hours of the night adding embellishments like loops, dubs and even a backward guitar lick on one song, "Sounded Good at the Time."
"We felt like we had had a little bit of a slowdown period and weren't the new kids on the block anymore," Kelley said. "And now you have to fight to stay relevant. The sound of country music had changed a little bit, much more rocking."
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