Charles Kelley on ‘Leaving Nashville’

"Anybody who has any dream that they're chasing, it's gonna beat you down at times."

By Brian Ives

Charles Kelley is currently on the road with Lady Antebellum, but earlier this year, he released his debut solo album, The Driver. The title track — a vocal collaboration with Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay — has gotten the most attention, but Nashville insiders have been reeling over the last song on the album, “Leaving Nashville,” a song about a songwriter about to leave Music City.

Related: Charles Kelley Talks Lady Antebellum Break, Solo Project

“‘Leaving Nashville.’ I haven’t had a song since [Lady Antebellum’s] ‘Need You Now’ that almost everybody I know in Nashville has sent me a text, or a call, and said, ‘Holy crap, I’ve lived that.’ Or, ‘I know someone who’s lived that.’ It’s a heartbreaking song, it’s about the struggle of the songwriter. One day you’re the king, next you’re not. I can relate to it, with the ebbs and flows that Lady Antebellum has had.”

“What I like about it is: anybody who has any dream that they’re chasing, it’s gonna beat you down at times. But if you love it, you’re never going to give up on it. There’s that silver lining. I’ve had a lot of songwriters say, ‘I needed that.’ [Maybe] They haven’t gotten a cut [on an album] in two years. So it can be a bit of a motivating song, in a weird way, because it is depressing. But it’s the song that gets talked about more than anything when people hear it.”

In other Charles Kelley news, he’s just released a new video from the album, for “Lonely Girl.” Watch it below.

Check out Lady Antebellum’s tour dates at their Eventful page.

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