Augusta musicians finding fame with Lady Antebellum

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Lady Antebellum, a new trio consisting of two Augusta-area guys and the daughter of a Nashville, Tenn., star, is ready for success.

Lady Antebellum, a new trio consisting of two Augusta-area guys and the daughter of a Nashville, Tenn., star, is ready for success.  Special
Special
Lady Antebellum, a new trio consisting of two Augusta-area guys and the daughter of a Nashville, Tenn., star, is ready for success.

Members are 25-year-old Dave Haywood, whose parents are Medical College of Georgia professor of dentistry Dr. Van Haywood and his schoolteacher wife, Angie; 26-year-old Charles Kelley, whose father is Augusta cardiologist Dr. John W. Kelley and whose mother is Winston-Salem, N.C., resident Gayle Kelley; and 21-year-old Hillary Scott, the daughter of one of my favorite singers, Linda Davis (duet partner of Reba McEntire), and her husband, Lang Scott.

Mr. Haywood and Mr. Kelley met at Riverside Middle School, became friends and continued their friendship at Lakeside High (Class of 2000 grads), where Mr. Haywood was on the tennis team and Mr. Kelley was on the golf team.

They also attended the University of Georgia, with Mr. Kelley getting a degree in finance and Mr. Haywood earning a degree in management information systems. They moved to Nashville in February 2006, where they met Ms. Scott and formed Lady Antebellum. The name comes from a promotional photo shoot where they were wearing Civil War-era costumes.

It so happens that I'm writing about Lady Antebellum on the 37th anniversary of this weekly Ramblin' Rhodes column.

One of the fun things over the years has been being the first to introduce readers to virtually unknown, locally produced talent including Terri Gibbs, Leon Everette, Larry Jon Wilson, the Dixie Dregs, The Lewis Family and others before they become music celebrities. I was also lucky enough to be the first writer to interview The Judds, Alabama, Ronnie Dunn and Joe Diffie.

Lady Antebellum evokes the same excitement I felt in interviewing and hearing those other artists for the first time.

To see how good this group is, go to youtube.com and type Lady Antebellum into the search window. Several videos will come up.

First watch the video On The Road and Behind The Scenes, and if you don't come away with a happy feeling in watching their own excitement as their popularity grows, then you need to see a psychiatrist.

Then watch Never Alone, a sensitive music video with pianist Jim Brickman and Lady Antebellum.

Then watch the trio in a live performance of its debut Capitol single, Love Don't Live Here (Anymore).

The group's manager is Gary Borman, whose other clients are Faith Hill and Keith Urban. So what does that tell you about Lady A's chances for hitting it really big?

Plus, "the buzz" has been going around Nashville's Music Row for months about this trio, with my performer-songwriter friend Becky Hobbs being among those singing their praises.

"I just love them," she told me a couple of months ago.

They've already opened for Carrie Underwood before 9,000 fans at a concert in Delaware; been introduced on the Grand Ole Opry stage by Vince Gill; just finished a 10-week tour of U.S. radio stations; co-written a song called Miles Away to be featured on the MTV series The Hills; and were guest performers last summer on the International Fan Club Organization show in Ryman Auditorium.

On May 30, 2000, The Augusta Chronicle printed a photo of Lakeside High seniors at their prom at Savannah Rapids Pavilion, and there, standing in the background, are Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley.

They're certainly not standing in the background any more.

Don Rhodes has written about country music for 37 years. He can be reached at (706) 823-3214 or at don.rhodes@morris.com.


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