You can’t say Charles Kelley doesn’t have a sense of humor. To promote his debut solo LP, The Driver, out today, Kelley (“The Tall Guy from Lady Antebellum”) released a smart, self-deprecating spoof called “Who the F–k Is Charles Kelley?” The clip unspools murder-mystery style, à la The Usual Suspects, with a cast of country-music friends like Darius Rucker, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook, Hunter Hayes and Eric Paslay.
Kelley, of course, has achieved massive success with Lady Antebellum, but this is the first time he’s ventured out on his own — and the video pokes fun at the fact that while his band might be a household name, he is not. The detective work angle is entertaining, but the crown jewel is when actual local Nashville anchor Bob Mueller does his best Ron Burgundy to exclaim, “Who the f–k is Charles Kelley?”
The Driver doesn’t signal the end of the Grammy-winning Lady Antebellum, Kelley maintains — even as the Lone Female in Lady A is recording a gospel album and the Musical Dude is focusing on producing — but it has been a welcome opportunity for Kelley to show off his love for Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger and the Band. It’s worked pretty well: his single “The Driver,” featuring Paslay and Dierks Bentley, scored a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, proving that at least Grammy voters knows who the f—k Kelley is.
“I wanted to make music that spoke to me,” Kelley told Rolling Stone Country, “without having the expectation of success that comes with Lady Antebellum. This is just Charles Kelley making a record. If it’s crappy, it’s not gonna wreck the band. It’s not like David Lee Roth going solo, where it’s David fucking Lee Roth! With Charles, it’s like, ‘Who the fuck is Charles Kelley?'”