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Lady Antebellum expects a long life for new Christmas album

Country's biggest stars are joining together celebrate holidays. For third year Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles will host 'CMA Country Christmas' special

Country's biggest stars are joining together to celebrate the holidays. For the third year, Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles will host the "CMA Country Christmas" special, airing from 8-11 p.m. Dec. 20 on ABC. (ABC/Katherien Bomboy-Thornton)

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Updated: January 17, 2013 6:22AM



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When the members of Lady Antebellum sat down to plan out their new Christmas album, they faced a choice: Toss it off or take it seriously.

In the end, the platinum-selling trio of Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley put in as much or more work than they had on any of their three previous studio albums. For a simple reason.

“These things live out long past some of your other records because every season it comes back,” Kelley said.

Said Scott, “It could potentially outlive us, literally. You think about Bing Crosby and some of those classic versions of Christmas songs, and it’s like we could be that. Which is crazy and heavy in a way.”

“On This Winter’s Night” is notably different from previous Lady A work, filled with lush orchestral moments, string sections and more full-band arrangements than they’ve previously attempted. The title song, co-produced with Paul Worley, is an original, written by the group with Grammy-winning songwriter Tom Douglas.

“All those big arrangements, we wanted to make sure they were right,” Haywood said. “And these songs that people have done almost perfectly, like these Bing Crosby songs and Brenda Lee songs that are just so well done, we wanted to make sure we didn’t just go in there and say, ‘Oh, this will be fine.’ So we spent tons and tons of time just making sure that our version would be something that would hopefully be around for a while.”

In a way, the Christmas album — conducted in two sessions over the summer during breaks from their tour — was a warm-up for work on their next studio album. The group recently started putting down tracks with Worley in Nashville for their follow-up to the platinum-selling “We Own the Night.” Kelley said it’s the first album they’ve recorded that doesn’t have a deadline looming.

While the musicians are doing promotional work for the holiday album — including a performance on “CMA Country Christmas,” airing at 8 p.m. Thursday on WLS-Channel 7 — for the most part they’ll be focused on the new record for as long as they want.

“I think that’s the biggest freedom for us,” Kelley said. “I think we’d be lying if we said we didn’t feel pressure with the last record coming off [the 2010 hit] ‘Need You Now,’ so I think we’re far enough away from that, and coming off a successful tour, for us, for me, was the most rewarding and comforting thing.”

AP



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