Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley has set February 5th as the release date for his solo debut The Driver and has enlisted rock goddess Stevie Nicks and country superstar Miranda Lambert to ride along with him.
While the latter joins the Augusta, Georgia native on "I Wish You Were Here," penned by Jedd Hughes, Kelley and Nicks take on a cover of the moody "Southern Accents," the title track of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' 1985 album. The lead single from The Driver – and its title track – revisits the territory of the three-part harmony of Kelley's Lady A roots, as Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay accompany him on that track, which they debuted in the fall during an appearance on the The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. Their recording earned the trio a Grammy nomination.
Kelley is a co-writer of four of the LP's nine tracks, and other contributors include Chris Stapleton, Daniel Tashian and Nathan Chapman, while Kelley co-penned "Round in Circles" with his brother, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley, marking the first time the siblings had worked together since Josh's early solo efforts.
Of the title track, Kelley tells Rolling Stone Country, "'The Driver' is the last eight years of my life put in a song. That appreciation for the audience, that appreciation for your road family, and doing what you love to do."
The last song recorded for the record was "The Only One Who Gets Me," 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," Kelley notes. "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 is available for preorder at iTunes with the title cut served up as an instant download. Additional tracks will become available each Friday with album preorders leading up to the official release on Friday, February 5th.
The Driver track listing (and songwriter credits)
"Your Love" (Abe Stoklasa, Ashley Ray)
"The Driver" feat. Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay (Charles Kelley, Eric Paslay, Abe Stoklasa)
"Dancing Around It" (Charles Kelley, Abe Stoklasa, Daniel Tashian)
"Southern Accents" feat. Stevie Nicks (Tom Petty)
"Lonely Girl" (Chris Stapleton, Jesse Frasure)
"The Only One Who Gets Me" (Charles Kelley, Nathan Chapman)
"Round in Circles" (Charles Kelley, Josh Kelley)
"I Wish You Were Here" feat. Miranda Lambert (Jedd Hughes)
"Leaving Nashville" (Abe Stoklasa, Donovan Woods)