When Lady Antebellum swept this year’s Grammys, winning five awards including the coveted Song of the Year and Record of the Year for “Need You Now,” no one was more surprised than the trio itself. Sure, the song had become a huge pop crossover hit, achieving Top 5 airplay in 30 countries. But few country music groups ever experience stardom on that scale. “We never expected to be thrust into the international spotlight in the way that we were,” admits singer Charles Kelley. “The power of that one song really changed the scope of our entire career at home and in all these places we only dreamed of playing.”
Now Lady Antebellum, which also includes co-singer Hillary Scott and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood, has the difficult task of matching that success with its third studio album, Own the Night. The group, formed in Nashville in 2006, relies on the rich vocal interplay between Kelley and Scott and crisp musical accompaniment, selling what one critic called “melodic manicured roots music to folks whose iPods pair Coldplay with Carrie Underwood.”
The new album continues the same mix, with standout tracks like the pop-flavored single “Just a Kiss,” which debuted on American Idol, and the driving, mandolin-flecked “We Owned the Night.” Kelley and Scott harmonize seamlessly on “Dancin’ Away with My Heart,” a nostalgic ode to first love. With hints of rock, Celtic folk and several moody ballads, Own the Night hits all of the right notes to keep Lady Antebellum in pop’s forefront.