Today, “one of the most-talked-about releases of 2016” (Billboard) receives a release date as Charles Kelley announces his first-ever solo album THE DRIVER (Capitol Records Nashville) will be available Feb. 5. The nine-track disc has already received a GRAMMY nomination for its lead single/title track, which fans will now receive as an instant download alongside an additional track each Friday leading into release with an iTunes pre-order purchase.
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 Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents” (featuring Stevie Nicks) 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. 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 an appearance by Miranda Lambert on the textured “I Wish You Were Here” and 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.”
THE DRIVER TRACK LIST:
1. Your Love
(Abe Stoklasa, Ashley Ray)
2. The Driver feat. Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay
(Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay, Abe Stoklasa)
3. Dancing Around It
(Charles Kelley, Abe Stoklasa, Daniel Tashian)
4. Southern Accents feat. Stevie Nicks
5. Lonely Girl
(Chris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure)
6. The Only One Who Gets Me
(Charles Kelley, Nathan Chapman)
7. Round In Circles
(Charles Kelley, Josh Kelley)
8. I Wish You Were Here feat. Miranda Lambert
9. Leaving Nashville
(Abe Stoklasa, Donovan Woods)
In addition to his upcoming solo project and success as part of seven-time GRAMMY award-winning trio Lady Antebellum, Kelley has also penned No. one hits recorded by Luke Bryan and Darius Rucker. For more information on new music, visit www.charleskelley.com