Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley has announced that his first solo CD, The Driver, will be released on February 5th on Capitol Nashville.
Named by Billboard as “one of the most-talked-about releases of 2016,” the nine track disc features collaborations with Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay on the GRAMMY-nominated title track, Stevie Nicks on a cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” and Miranda Lambert on the textured “I Wish You Were Here.”
Fans who pre-order The Driver on iTunes will receive an instant download of the title track alongside an additional track each Friday leading up to the album’s release. Kelley is also offering autographed CDs for fans who pre-order through his website.
Stepping outside of Lady Antebellum, one of the world’s most popular groups, Kelley explores new territory with a raw sound that pushes his vocals into a lower, grittier key. Born in a ratty studio in the back of producer Paul Worley’s offices, the initial batch of songs gave Kelley a sense that he was going to be diving into some new territory, with a real sense of range as “Lonely Girl” and “Your Love” have a Hall and Oates-style, while his cover of “Southern Accents” has a stark and melancholy feel.
“At first, it was really weird to go in the booth and be like, ‘Where’s Hillary? Where’s Dave?’ But it was very exciting to be the leader in there and go, ‘This is it, I’m doing this,’” Kelley shared. “It was the most fun I’ve had in the studio, because everything felt new again. It took me out of my comfort zone.”
Thrilled with the first studio go-round, Kelley and Worley made plans to reconvene a few months later, where they came out with “Dancing Around It,” adding a shot of sexiness into the mix. The second session also included “Leaving Nashville,” an emotional powerhouse of a song about the ups and downs, heartaches and disappointments, of life as a songwriter on Music Row.
Three final songs were cut later in the year, which added to the album’s moody feel and personal focus. “Round in Circles,” marks the first time that Charles and his brother, Josh Kelley, recorded together since Josh’s early work. The Driver also benefits from the very last song recorded, “The Only One Who Gets Me,” which is the fist time Kelley has written a song specifically for and about his wife, Cassie.
“While so many of these songs are something I specifically can relate to, it really is all of our story,” added Kelley. “It is a pure musical left turn, to take myself out of my own head and bring in a fresh perspective when we go back in to make the next Lady Antebellum record.”