On the title track to his forthcoming solo LP, Charles Kelley paid tribute to the people who are part of the touring musician’s family and make the “traveling circus” possible. Now he’s released a second song that gives a different music insider perspective.
“Leaving Nashville,” which was written by Abe Stoklasa and Donovan Woods, takes an unflinching look at the often-tough existence of songwriters trying to make it in Nashville. It’s hours and hours of pouring out one’s soul for arbitrary rejections or fleeting success. It’s often living for that next check or praying that someone puts a song on hold. There’s a cyclical nature to it, where “one day you’re the king, the next you’re not,” as Kelley sings in the chorus.
Kelley performed the song as part of Capitol Music Group’s 1 Mic 1 Take series, backed by a skeleton crew of musicians on acoustic instruments. His soulful delivery communicates that grim reality of songwriting as a career path, which he must remember acutely even though his ride with Lady Antebellum has taken him over that financial hump.
The Driver will be released on February 5th and includes appearances by Miranda Lambert and Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, who duets with Kelley on a cover of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents.”