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Since sitting down to write their first song together in 2006, this trio has experienced unexpected success and fame as one of country music’s most famous acts. Charles Kelly, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood come together to produce a sound that blends soul and singer-songwriter reflection, then add a contemporary edge that results in recordings unlike any others being played on country music stations. Mega hits like “Love Don’t Live Here” and “I Run to You” showcase the range of talent and diversity the three bring to the genre and their fan base. The band got some much deserved recognition at the 43rd Annual CMA Awards, with the trio taking home both Vocal Group of the Year and Single of the Year for “I Run To You,”
Of course, they’d already earned quite a few awards and nominations (including both ACM and CMA New Artist of the Year honors in 2008) for their work on the initial album, so it’s really no surprise that fans are eagerly anticipating their sophomore release, slated to go on sale Jan. 26. The title is the same as the already tremendously popular single “Need You Now.” The song has been their most successful yet, rising to the Top 10 on the Billboard charts in just nine weeks. Like previous hits, the melody and message resonate with fans. The other tracks promise to be just as heartfelt, with the band working to make sure they continue to deliver the sound that their followers appreciate and love. In fact, they describe the new album as being all about passion, where a spark was reignited in the studio. From what we’ve heard, the listeners are going to be equally passionate...
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Photo By Joseph Anthony Baker
Country newcomer Eric Church had a banner year in 2009, reaching both the Mediabase and Billboard country Top 10 on the strength of “Love Your Love the Most,” the latest single from his acclaimed sophomore record, Carolina.
Church burst on the scene in 2006 with Sinners Like Me, his debut record, which earned three Top 20 singles and a number one video. A native of Granite Falls, N.C., he penned songs for others (including Terri Clark’s “The World Needs a Drink”) before being signed to a solo deal himself. Sinners Like Me was produced by Jay Joyce, who’s best known for work with eclectic artists like Patty Griffin and The Duhks. It makes you wonder what Church, the Carolina country boy, and Joyce, the former punk rocker, have in common.
“Not much,” says Church. “And I think that’s one of the brilliant parts of what we do together. What we share is a common desire to not let the music get in the way of the song. He’s not one to overproduce and dress up the song too much. He just wants to bring out the best in what I do.”
What Church does best is mix Southern drawl and arena rock in a combination that recalls Brad Paisley or Keith Urban, but with a little U2 in the woodpile. He’s known for his up-tempo live shows, which showcase his outstanding backing band. This same group of well-heeled veterans also play on Church’s records––a setup almost unheard of on Music Row, where the division of labor between live and studio musicians is practically insurmountable.
“I feel that I have the best band out there,” Church says. “My guys are great players, and it’s important, if you’re going to be a band, to have a sound. These are the guys who helped craft that sound. We have a very easy relationship with our label, Capitol, and as long as we keep making great records and don’t screw up, we’ll get to keep doing this.”
—Paul V. Griffith