Lady Antebellum's self-titled debut album never lets their
audience forget that they play country music, but the trio's brand
of country has a modern flair for rock-flint guitars, panels of
torchlight arrangements, graceful strings, and a pint of sultry
blues. Their album is where country soul meets heartland rock,
where the southern rock of Van Zandt and the Americana-bluegrass
of The Duhks (produced "Dukes") share a common
ground. Comprised of singers Hillary Scott and Charles
Kelley and guitarist Dave Haywood, Lady Antebellum
made the best with what they have fusing nostalgic country with
modern-pop intonations. Produced by Paul Worley (Big
& Rich, Dixie Chicks) with songs co-written by
the members of Lady Antebellum and Victoria Shaw, the album
shines light on some rootsy-prairie land-country harmonies between
Scott and Kelley that make the melodies jump out at the listener.
Tracks like "Love Don't Live Here" and "Lookin'
For A Good Time" make good use of their harmonizing and inflaming
the country rock vibrations to a Cross Canadian Ragweed
decibel and a Bob Seger heartland rock ethos.
Candlelit guitar panes are tucked into the melodic strings while
Scott's vocals resonate with arches like The Duhks lead singer
Jessica Harvey on tracks like "All We'd Ever Need"
and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You." Scott maintains beautiful
control of her vocal melodies similarly to her mother, singer
Linda Davis. Charles Kelley has more a loose bluesy register
that is unlike his brother's, singer Josh Kelley. Kelley
is a chaps-wearing type of singer that prefers to straddle the
upbeat tunes like "Love's Looking Good On You" and "Slow
Down Sister," although he does try his hand at the softer
ballads like "One Day You Will" and "Things People
Say," which he fairs very well at making vocal imprints that
emboss velvety creases in the melodies. You can tell that the
album has a major label behind it because the songs are so cleanly
polished that it gleams like glass. Not a single tendril is left
The lyrics are typical of country tunes and the country life
with song titles like "Home Is Where The Heart Is" and
the carousing attitude of "Lookin' For A Good Time."
The lyrics are about euphoric love, hellish losses, and bouncing
back on your feet. The song "Long Gone" brings them
all together, "You're talking to a stranger, I'm not that
girl anymore / That girl is long gone / Boy, you missed the boat,
it just sailed away / Long gone, she's not drowning in her yesterdays
/ Bet you never thought I'd be that strong / Well this girl is
long gone like the wind under Superman's cape / Like a thief in
the night, I made the great escape." The lyrics show smarts
in their characters and vulnerability in the human foible that
makes people fall in love with all the wrong types.
Lady Antebellum's self-titled debut album has many enjoyable
tracks that bring in other shades of music besides country.
There are melodies that move to your heart rate like "I
Run To You" and "Love's Looking Good On You,"
which are the most fun. And although the album is half made
up of ballads, it does not ruin it because Scott and Kelley's
vocal harmonies make up for those slow moments by jolting the
tempo with expressive inflections. Some subliminal aspects in
the album are the Americana-tinged guitars and fiddle tones
of "Home Is Where The Heart Is" and the Italian-accented
accordion vibrations that create soft undulations along "Can't
Take My Eyes Off You." It's those little accents that make
the songs more exciting than expected of a country album.
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