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Lady Antebellum Conquers London

Lady Antebellum performs at the Nightly Concerts at LP Field on Thursday, June 10 in Downtown Nashville during the 2010 CMA Music Festival. Photographer: John Russell / CMA.

Lady Antebellum performs at the Nightly Concerts at LP Field on Thursday, June 10 in Downtown Nashville during the 2010 CMA Music Festival. Photographer: John Russell / CMA.

Lady Antebellum had the best-selling album in America during the first half of 2010, and the group made its first headlining venture overseas last week, playing to a sold-out crowd at Shepherds Bush Empire in London Aug. 11.

Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood were a little uncertain about what to expect, especially because they didn’t really know how Brits would respond to their brand of country, a music style that originated in the U.S.

“There is a stigma attached to country music,” Charles told BBC News. “People say they don’t like it, but things have evolved a lot over the years. I think people would really dig it if they gave it a shot.”

The venue they chose is becoming a significant one for country stars. It was the same music hall where the Dixie Chicks became controversial with Natalie Maines’ 2003 comments about President Bush. It’s also the place where Brad Paisley gave his first headlining show in the U.K. in June.

Lady A paid homage to the locals by covering a couple of songs by British bands: Radiohead’s “High And Dry” and the Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” And apparently fans in the U.K. liked what they heard. A reviewer for The Guardian said the band sounded “like Fleetwood Mac with Tennessee vowels.” And the trio got a standing ovation from the 2,000 ticketholders at the close of the first show.

“We heard a British audience might be a bit more subdued,” Dave said, “but they were louder than some of our U.S. concerts.”

Things apparently went more smoothly in the U.K. than they did upon Lady A’s return to the U.S. Possible tornadoes at the Illinois State Fair kept the band from playing on Friday the 13th. It’s the first time they’ve ever been prevented from taking the stage.

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