Lady A prefaced the release of Need You Now by issuing its title track as a single; it reached the top spot on the country charts and stayed there for five straight weeks. It was their second number one, and they wasted no time following it with "American Honey," which appeared a mere two months before this set was in stores. This singing/songwriting trio -- lead vocalists Charles Kelly and Hillary Scott, with multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist Dave Haywood -- understand how Nashville works, and they know how to work it. On their sophomore effort, they stick very close to the formula of their debut: a slew of mid- and uptempo love songs, a sad ballad, and a couple of rocked-up good-time tunes, all self-written with some help from some of Nashville’s most respected writers. Kelly’s baritone is emotive, expressive, and deep in the pocket, no matter what he’s singing. He shines on the soft rocking "Love This Pain," which could have been a single. Scott's voice is a little less distinctive, but she does possess a unique form of phrasing and reaches deeply into her protagonist’s personal situations, whether it's the celebratory good-time girl in "American Honey" or the wildly-in-love mature woman on "Hold on Tight." The group party anthem on the set -- an obligatory addition these days -- is "Stars Tonight," which contains more than a few clichés, but has a killer guitar riff and an infectious chorus. With co-production from Paul Worley, Lady A prove there is no sophomore slump on Need You Now. Here, the band's seamless, polished, and savvy brand of contemporary country is even more consistent than it was on their debut; it’s virtually flawless in its songwriting, production, and performance.
Need You Now Review
by Thom Jurek