Charles Kelley Is Solid In New Album “The Driver” and Becomes A New Dad – Album Review

When I heard that Charles Kelley was releasing a solo CD, my first response was to wonder what that meant for Lady Antebellum. According to Nashville Lifestyles Charles stated that Lady A was not breaking up. His bandmates Dave and Hillary gave him their blessings to make his solo project.

Once I knew this wasn’t the end of Lady A, my response to the first single, “The Driver,” was, “Wow…this is really good!” Ironically, this song from his solo project is nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Duo/Group Performance due to being joined by Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay. Charles has said that he loves mainstream country, but he wants that to be Lady A’s domain. He says that while he does want to have solo country hits, he realizes that “It might be more of a grind for them to become a hit because they’re a little left of center.”

“There have always been songs that I wanted to record that didn’t fit the band. What you can say in a group is different than what you can say as a singular person. This album was all about just making something I could be really proud of,” Charles stated.

I’d say that ‘left of center,’ is an accurate way to describe the CD. It may not be straight ahead country, but another accurate description would be that Charles’ voice is so strong and sounds amazing. In addition it’s in no way nearly as ‘left of center’ as a lot of stuff on the radio today.

“The Driver” is my favorite song, but I love the sound of the whole CD. Charles eases himself into the solo aspect of the project. Besides having Dierks and Eric join him, he also has Stevie Nicks sing with him on a Tom Petty & the Heartbreaker’s song, “Southern Accents” and “I Wish You Were Here” features Miranda Lambert. “The Driver” and the great “Leaving Nashville” all share the same theme, kind of giving a glimpse into the world of singing, songwriting and touring, which I really like. Other standouts for me include “Lonely Girl,” which was written by Chris Stapleton, “Round in Circles,” which I hope is the next single and “The Only One Who Gets Me” which has meaningful lyrics and some very cool guitar playing on it.

To promote the new album Charles has announced a string of tour dates across the country including a stop here in Southern California. “The Driver” is available now on digital media or stop by his site to learn more:

On a side note Congratulations are in order for Charles and his wife Cassie on the arrival of their blessing. Welcome healthy Ward Charles Kelley born yesterday February 11th. We wish them great joy and happiness.

Tour Dates: April 9 – Silver Spring, Md., The Fillmore Silver Spring April 13 – Cleveland, Ohio, House Of Blues April 15 – St. Louis, Mo., The Pageant April 23 – Anaheim, Calif., House Of Blues April 24 – San Jose, Calif., Club Rodeo April 26 – West Hollywood, Calif., Troubadour May 1 – Houston, Texas, House Of Blues May 3 – Nashville, Tenn., 3rd & Lindsley May 6 – Athens, Ga., Georgia Theatre May 7 – North Charleston, S.C., North Charleston Perf. Arts Center

Review by Geoff Brown/CMM Contributor

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