Lady Antebellum has slotted several breaks into its current tour, affording the band the luxury of getting to go home to Tennessee to spend time with family and catch up on laundry.
Even so, for a superstar country act, there’s always band business to manage, even on breaks. Last month Lady Antebellum performed with Stevie Nicks at the ACM Awards.
During a conversation on a recent break from the tour, Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood talked about working with Nicks, the gift he received from opening act Kip Moore after wrapping up one leg of the tour and the band’s crossover smash hit.
Did you get into that bottle of Bulleit bourbon that Kip Moore gave you the other day?
I’ve got it actually sitting on the bus, so when we head back out next week I will dive into it very quickly, I can assure you of that. There’s no shortage of whiskey on our tour. That’s kind of our go-to, me and (bandmate Charles Kelley) especially. Bulleit and Woodford are definitely the go-to’s.
I’ve seen your band in concert, and I don’t remember you flaunting the drinking and partying on stage like some other acts do.
Not during the show. When we’re getting warmed up for the show we have a little bar area backstage. You got to make at least one drink to take the edge off. It’s fun to have a little wine or whiskey after the show to celebrate. I guess we’re not doing shots on stage, but we like to have a good time.
Lady Antebellum performed “Rhiannon” with Stevie Nicks at the ACM awards last month. Who chose that song?
Kind of the both of us. We did (the CMT show) “Crossroads” with Stevie about a year ago, and it was honestly the best experience for us as a band. It was the No. 1 highlight for us, to sit with her and work with her. We did “Rhiannon” on that show, and they had asked us to try and come up with a collaboration to do something with her again. We had a blast doing that.
She has been honestly so genuinely nice. She has invested so much time into our music and to us, spending time practicing and rehearsing. She’s just an unbelievable individual. You sit with her long enough and she’ll start telling old rock ‘n’ roll stories. And it’s the real stuff.
To say that playing with Stevie Nicks is the No. 1 highlight for you as a band is high praise.
My dream has always been not just to meet someone you’ve been a fan of, but to have the opportunity to work with them.
We went into the “Crossroads” experience not sure how that would go, if she would be cold or standoffish, or if it was going to be awkward. We showed up, and immediately she gave us all a big hug and started asking us about us, and how we started as a band, and how we write. She was so invested in our music. She started naming all these album cuts from our debut record and second record.
She was like, “We need to do ‘Cold as Stone’ from your second record,’ and I was like, “Who even knows that song?”
Did you have a sense that “Need You Now” was going to be the huge crossover success that it was when you wrote it?
Absolutely not. We wrote it and really put it away. We had one final song-listening meeting with our management and label where we just go through everything we’ve written and pick songs to record. We were literally all grabbing our keys to go to the car, and Charles said, “Let me play this one little acoustic thing we did like a year ago.”
So he played it, and the label was like, “Gosh, that’s got a really cool thing. You should at least try it in the studio and see how it comes out sounding,” and once we did, it felt like it hit this special moment, and it sounded really different and unique for us. We still had no idea that it would do what it did.
It not only crossed over to different formats, but different parts of the world. It allowed us to travel to Australia, and travel to Europe. It’s just been unbelievable. It just took on a life of its own.
We never sat there and said, “Oh yeah, this is the crossover hit.” We thought it would be a cool album track. It’s so dark. The lyrics are so dark. We’re blown away. We never thought it was gonna happen.
If you go:
What: Lady Antebellum with Billy Currington and Joe Nichols
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township
Contact: 513-232-6220, www.riverbend.org
Chris Varias / Cincinnati Enquirer / Thursday, May 29, 2014