Music By Turner: Lady Antebellum's success makes memory sweeter

Lady Antebellum's new holiday album, On This Winter's Night, includes traditional carols and original songs.

In my 45 years working retail at Turner’s Keyboards, I have had more than my fair share of unusual customers and clients.


Most of the them I’ve almost forgotten anyway, unless my sister or a co-worker reminds me, and then some of it comes back in Skittle-sized memory bits.

I blame those multiple dead brain cells, of course, on old “bad habits” as I saw Pink Floyd, the Stones, the Grateful Dead and Paul McCartney live in concert on countless occasions. There was lots of “collateral damage” in rock and roll back in those days.

What was I thinking to do those things (thank God for the Statute of Limitations) back in the ’70s and ’80s that eventually kept me from ever thinking about them again?


IT WAS “AMAZING” DEPT. However, one very astounding memory that was never sent to the “mental trash file” in my brain involved a very soft-spoken, conscientious gentleman who wanted to give his two young boys a piano.

It was in the late ’80s, and my client, a well-known local cardiologist, purchased a piano from Turner’s for his sons. We delivered their instrument the next week, and in the following years I kept up with my customer and friend, Dr. John Kelley, and his boys’ progress.

But their accomplishments back then, especially for his elder son Josh, were not in music, but on the golf course! Both of Dr. Kelley’s sons, Josh and Charles, were (and probably still are) very good golfers. I’m certain that their dreams back then were more about winning a green jacket than Grammy Awards.

Yes, both Kelley boys were just as talented on tricky three-foot putts as they eventually became on their well-crafted three-minute singles. Sports and music involves very accurate timing, as the two disciplines are definitely first cousins, if not siblings.

After their college days (Josh attended Ole Miss; Charles received a degree in finance from UGA), music rapidly took over both of the Kelleys’ lives. Josh, who is 18 months older than Charles, hit pay dirt first in 2003 with his album For the Ride Home that contained his first big singles Amazing and Only You. Josh, whose songs have appeared on 12 movie soundtracks, still writes and records and is an accomplished actor these days as well.

Charles and his longtime friend Dave Haywood eventually moved to Nashville and, along with vocalist Hillary Scott, formed the trio Lady Antebellum. In a script only Nashville could write, success came very quickly for the three musicians, a scenario that rarely happens in Music City.

Seven Grammy Awards later, Lady A is, of course, one of the most successful country groups in the world with sold-out shows and triple-platinum albums among their many other commercial and philanthropic accomplishments. The top-notch Lady Antebellum Pavilion and its’ Josh Kelley stage has rapidly become a very popular concert venue in Columbia County.


JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS DEPT. To their many fans’ delight, Lady A has two new releases online and in stores. Own the Night is a 90-minute DVD of the tour that sold out James Brown Arena twice this year. Two-dozen songs including Run to You, Just a Kiss, Our Kind of Love and the classic Need You Now are performed in concert in front of an adoring audience in Little Rock, Ark.

There’s also a new Lady Antebellum holiday CD On This Winter’s Night, that features the trio on various carols and several originals. Highlights include Hillary’s rollicking lead vocal on the big band-style arrangement of A Holly Jolly Christmas and their clever nod and wink to doo-wop on Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) that illustrates Charles’ soulful side of singing very effectively.

In addition to the two discs above, Lady A fans who also want the real thing can get or give a late Christmas present too because the band will perform Dec. 27 in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium. There’s also a holiday special – CMA Country Christmas – featuring the group that will air on ABC on Dec. 20, 22 and 23.

Of course, we locals are very happy and proud of Lady Antebellum’s astounding rise to the top. All over the area there’s still thousands of “Save the A” signs but in this case, the only thing that needs saving for the group are more No. 1 songs, albums, Grammy Awards and continued worldwide acclaim.

Lady A? No, that name these days is just not good enough for the millions who love their music and for all the good things they have given back to Augusta. From now on, let’s just refer to them as “Lady A+.”