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John Lamb, Published January 14 2014

Chart-topping country trio Lady Antebellum brings sound to Fargodome on Saturday

FARGO - To find a song that was so close to their heart, the members of Lady Antebellum had to look outside of their comfort zone. Heck, they had to look outside the U.S.

The chart-topping country group reached across the Atlantic Ocean, pulling their current hit, “Compass,” from Norway.

“We write so much of our material that whenever we hear something that feels like a Lady A song, we immediately all go, ‘We’ve got to get this out there,’” says the group’s singer/guitarist Dave Haywood.

The trio (Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott hold down lead vocals) felt so strongly about getting the song out there that the day it was released, Oct. 14, the group announced it was postponing its tour, including a Nov. 19 date at the Fargodome, to promote the song.

The group makes up the date this Saturday with openers Kacey Musgraves and Kip Moore.

“We really thought it was best for us to spend the fall promoting the songs on TV shows and throughout the country and getting ready for the tour,” Haywood says.

The songs he refers to, “Compass” and “And the Radio Played,” were released in a deluxe edition of “Golden” in November. “Golden,” the group’s fourth studio album, was released in May.

Getting the songs some exposure involved playing talk shows and a spot in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Now Haywood and his Antebellum mates are looking forward to getting back on the road.

“We’re excited to be out there and excited to have people check out the shows,” says the studio junkie. “Being in the studio is where the creativity is. Being out there (on the road) is where the adrenaline rush really happens. You’re out there each night. What’s fun for us is having some of these new songs to play, like ‘Compass.’ ”

The group performed the song for the first time in concert Friday night, opening the tour in Peoria, Ill. In fact, the tune has become the show opener so far on the tour.

“These words to ‘Compass’ really speak to where we are and what we feel, having that person in your life that’s there for you and knowing they’ll always be there to be your guide,” Haywood says. “Those moments for us, we love to sing about. We love to put that music out there. Trying to find something real and organic is always our pursuit.”

The song is written by the Norwegian pop production team Stargate, better known for working with Rihanna and Katy Perry.

Lady A (as they are known to their fans) gave the song the string treatment, focusing on banjo, mandolin and fiddle and a sing-along chorus, prompting comparisons to Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers.

“I think Americana is a great word for it,” Haywood says of the departure sound. “We love Americana music. We love folk music. What’s great about those songs is that they’re genuine. For us this is a song that lives well on just an acoustic guitar and acoustic instruments. It really makes it feel like a big hoe-down, so to speak. If you were sitting around with a bluegrass picking group, how would this song sound? That’s what we were trying to go for, that four-on-the-floor, foot-stomping feel.”

It’s a different approach than to the trio’s signature mega-hit, “Need You Now,” which almost never came to be. Haywood says it was “an afterthought,” the last song recorded, but once it was, the band knew they had something special. The group’s label, Capitol Nashville, wasn’t so sure a song about a late-night call to a former lover after a few drinks was the best move.

“That’s an honest moment where late at night, you’ve been drinking and you long for somebody. The label was a little hesitant to put it out there, but we’re just speaking from our experience. We’ve all been in this situation. We said, ‘It’s honest, it’s a genuine moment, let’s release that one,’ ” Haywood says. “Clearly a lot of people have responded to it.”

Clearly. The song was No. 1 on the country charts for nine weeks and proved a crossover hit, topping the adult charts. It went on to take top honors with ACM, CMA, ACA, CMT awards and even taking home four Grammys.

“We had no idea it would do what it did,” he says. “It’s been amazing to watch the journey of that song and where it’s taken us and how blessed we are to tour all throughout the world.”

For the next seven months that song – and their others – will keep the group on the road.

“We’re kind of like a little family. It’s like a real brother-sister relationship we all have. We’ve been there through a lot of ups and downs together,” Haywood says. “Even with Hillary having the baby, that’s been a lot of excitement for us as a band. It’s all one big family out here travelling.”

Does that mean uncle Dave will be called to babysit as Scott’s 7-month-old daughter hits the road with the band?

“Luckily (Hillary) did bring a nanny because she doesn’t trust us,” he says. “I’m sure at some point I’ll have to change the diaper on the spot. I’m really not trained for that. If it has to happen, I hope I can figure out how to do it.”

If you go

WHAT: Lady Antebellum, Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves

WHEN: 7 p.m., Saturday

WHERE: Fargodome, 1800 University Dr., N.

TICKETS: $39.50, $59.50 and $70. 855-MYINFORUM, (855-694-6367).


Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533