[I'm on with my rock 'n' roll pal Kaedy Kiely at 97.1 The River every Wednesday at 6:50 and 7:50 a.m. to talk about the latest rock news. Tune in to hear what's up!]
Lady Antebellum is sort of the Jay Leno of country music. They’re wildly popular not because they’re extraordinary, but because they’re inoffensive and easy to embrace as background entertainment.
That’s one reason why “On This Winter’s Night” will likely be one of the biggest sellers of the holiday season (and if you define holiday season by 79 degrees and October, then it has officially begun in Atlanta).
The country-pop trio with well-publicized Georgia ties recorded their first Christmas album during two break sessions on their sold-out summer tour and on it, they stick mostly with traditional picks.
The results range from antiseptic to inspired, their “Christmas Baby (Please Come Home)” a toothless plea (Darlene Love still owns this one), but their recasting of “All I Want is You” into a pensive rumination a smart move. Some of the best holiday songs evoke melancholy as well as all that stuff about decking of halls and letting of snow and by turning Mariah Carey’s rollicking ride into a wistful ballad steered by Hillary Scott’s sweet vocals, Lady A provides some welcome dimension.
While the band – Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood – always straddles the line between country twang and adult contemporary swoon, here they take their pop leanings to a higher level with lush orchestrations throughout and a finger-snapping backbeat for the title track, an original tune featuring a children’s chorus.
Oh, sure, there are a few countrified instrumental breaks in “Let it Snow” and the pulsing march that propels “Blue Christmas” is provided by honky tonk piano, but there is no doubt that Lady Antebellum is shooting for mass appeal. And who can blame them? We know it results in good ratings.