Today marks the release of Charles Kelley’s album The Driver. The record is the first solo project from the Lady Antebellum frontman and showcases the singer-songwriter side of Kelley, as well as a love for classic rock. Among the tracks on the album is a cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents,” with a guest vocal from Stevie Nicks.
The title song is already nominated for a Grammy — ironically in the Best Duo/Group Performance category. Kelley, who enlisted Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay for the song, admits it was ironic to have his first solo single feature three singers.
“It is ironic, for sure. When we were picking singles we had that conversation, like, ‘Man, do you want to come out with a solo project and the first single be this trio?'” Kelley recalls to Rolling Stone Country. “I said, ‘You know what, everything about what the song says to me represents the best of the project. It’s about the lyrics, it’s about the song.’ I thought that we really made the statement that it just doesn’t sound like anything else on the radio right now.”
Along with “The Driver” and “Southern Accents,” The Driver features a knockout song about struggling to make it as an artist, titled “Leaving Nashville.” Kelley says the record allows him a clean slate, without the pressure of maintaining Lady A’s level of success.
“It has been an interesting journey of really starting from scratch,” he says.