As Lady Antebellum gear up for a series of concert dates in late May and throughout June, the group has been tapped to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” ahead of the festivities surrounding the 142nd Kentucky Derby, set for May 7th at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
More than 170,000 spectators will be on hand for the historic race, and the Grammy-winning group’s performance will be telecast live just after 5:00 p.m. ET from the Kentucky Derby Winner’s Circle on NBC prior to the race. A tradition at the annual Run for the Roses since 2009, previous national anthem performers include Martina McBride, LeAnn Rimes, Jo Dee Messina and Rascal Flatts, as well as Josh Groban, Jordin Sparks and Mary J. Blige. The Kentucky Derby is the oldest continuously held sporting event in North America.
Lady Antebellum have been on a mini-hiatus this year, during which Charles Kelley released his solo LP, The Driver. Late in 2015, the group scored their first-ever Number One hit on Billboard‘s Club chart with “Something Better,” their collaboration with electronic-music performer Audien.
“When we got asked to be a part of it, at first it was like, ‘Aw, man, I don’t know,’ because we always want to be a little protective of what we do and make sure it didn’t look like we had lost our mind and all of a sudden thought we were going to do dance music,” Kelley told Rolling Stone Country of the unexpected collaboration. “But the minute we heard the song, it was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ We felt excited and honored to be asked. I don’t care who is singing on this song, it’s a hit.”
The group returns to more familiar terrain in late May with an appearance at the Bayou Country Superfest in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 27th and the Country 500 Music Fest in Daytona Beach, Florida, on May 29th.