Lady Antebellum Runs to Lunch for No. 1

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Lady Antebellum performs at the VAULT Concert Stage at LP Field in Downtown Nashville Friday, June 12 during the 2009 CMA Music Festival. Photographer: John Russell / CMA.


Aug. 25, 2009 — Fried chicken, Mimosas, banana pudding and the trademark biscuits of Nashville’s Loveless Café were the order of the day Monday as Lady Antebellum celebrated its first No. 1 single with lunch at the same restaurant they visited in the middle of writing "I Run To You."

Songwriter Tom Douglas — who’d previously authored such hits as Collin Raye’s "Little Rock," Martina McBride’s "Love’s The Only House" and Tim McGraw’s "Grown Men Don’t Cry" — came to the table that day with what Hillary Scott described as "the most amazing idea we’ve ever heard."

"Truth be told," Charles Kelley piped in, "Tom wrote 80 percent of this thing."

The song’s running theme — "I run my life/Or is it running me" and "we run on fumes" are among the numerous uses of the concept — came literally from a 2007 foot race in Nashville in which Tom found himself "behind a guy with ‘I Run This Town’ on the back of his T-shirt," Tom recalled.

He already had the theme and bits of the melody in place when he sat down to write with Lady A for the first time in fall 2007, and the foursome finished the song in that single session, with a mid-day break for lunch at the Loveless, not far from the songwriter’s home. Tom was impressed by their willingness to tackle an idea that was "message-y" and even more impressed by the ultimate recording, which featured some unusual flourishes for a country single, including Michael Rojas’ Hammond B-3 shadings and Craig Young’s busy bass lines in the opening measures.

Many of the musicians — including Craig and guitarists Jason "Slim" Gambill, Rob McNelley and Lady A’s Dave Haywood — had never appeared on a Top 10 country hit prior to their work on the trio’s debut album, demonstrating the band’s desire to think outside of the genre’s stylistic box from the outset.

"We had had specific talks before we went into the record about trying to pull maybe a little mix of some guys that are well-known but also some guys that hadn’t gotten maybe their big chance yet," Charles noted. "You can open up a record in Nashville and it definitely has a lot of the same players, and that’s great. They are so good, and they’re even willin’ to be chameleons I think, ‘cause they’re that good. And that’s why they’re the go-to people, but we just wanted to try to step outside the box a little bit."

Two of the three U.S. performing-rights organizations — BMI and SESAC — joined Capitol Records, Country Weekly magazine, the Country Music Association and Country Radio Broadcasters in giving plaques to the trio, to Tom and to producers Paul Worley and Victoria Shaw.

Lady A, with Tom adding additional harmony on the chorus, delivered an acoustic version of "I Run To You." The band followed with a performance of its new single, "Need You Now," on a day filled with coincidence. Hillary’s parents — Linda Davis, best known for her Reba McEntire duet "Does He Love You"; and Lang Scott, who played in Reba’s band for eight years — were in attendance at a time when they have their own milestone to observe: Tuesday is their 25th wedding anniversary. Meanwhile, Capitol’s radio promotion department skipped the Loveless lunch to work the phones on chart day and "Need You Now" ended up the most-added single of the week at Country Aircheck. The artist the song beat out: Reba.

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