“It really was one of the best things we’ve ever been a part of,” says Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood, daydreaming about the band’s performance alongside Stevie Nicks.
The seven-time Grammy Award winners, who boast more than a shelf-full of country accolades, appear with the iconic artist on CMT Crossroads this Friday, Sept. 13. The experience was one that prompts Haywood to use nearly every cliché in the book.
“It was such a dream-come-true for all of us,” says Haywood in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. As it turns out, the statement isn’t so far off base. The collaboration did, in fact, begin in a dream.
“Long story short, we had all appeared in a dream of hers,” Haywood says of Nicks. “I know it sounds completely bizarre, but when she tells it it’s unbelievable. She says, ‘Me and Lindsey [Buckingham] were in a fight again in the dream’ and somehow Lady Antebellum appeared in the dream and she woke up saying, ‘I need to do something with that group.’”
Managers connected, CMT jumped at the pairing, and here we are.
“The whole experience was one of those things where you’re pinching yourself the whole time,” Haywood says. “When we got the tape back to watch the show, we were all sitting at the house and it was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ It felt like an out-of-body experience, like I was watching somebody else do it.”
The concert special, in which the artists trade verses and stories, features live renditions of Lady A’s “Love Don’t Live Here,” “Need You Now” and “Golden,” and Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen,” “Landslide,” “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” and “Rihannon.” (See the group’s performance of the latter in the video below.)
While Haywood and band mates Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley initially thought that Nicks would have “no idea” who they were, the 65-year-old surprised the trio with an intimate knowledge of their catalogue.
“To hear her actually reference songs from our album that were not singles, stuff that only fans would know, [it was] such a cool, cool experience,” says Haywood. “She just knew all these songs and would bring them up, like, ‘Hey, I want to do ‘Cold as Stone.” Nobody knows ‘Cold as Stone!’ Who knows that song?”
CMT Crossroads began airing in 2002, pairing country artists with superstars from other genres in a live setting. Among the most notable pairings of the program’s 11-year history are Taylor Swift and Def Leppard; Ryan Adams and Elton John; Brad Paisley and John Mayer; Keith Urban and Mayer; Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler; Emmylou Harris and Mumford & Sons; and Rascall Flatts and Journey.
“We’ve always known about the CMT Crossroads show and have been thinking about how to approach that, who to do it with, for years,” says Haywood. “Years ago, Hillary would always say, ‘Justin Timberlake — he’s a Tennessee boy and he’s such a cool songwriter and artist, too.’ But for us, the Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac catalogue was really the perfect set and the styles really meld together.”
And don’t be surprised if a cover or two pops up on one of the band’s forthcoming albums.
“Gosh, I feel like we need to cut a version of ‘Edge of Seventeen’ or ‘Rihannon’ and just put it on a record,” Haywood muses. “I mean, I feel like it fits with the stuff we do and it’s just such a perfect match.”
Lady A may be busy promoting their latest, Golden, released last May, but Haywood says they’re “always thinking” about what’s next.
“It’s been a really fun summer for us, obviously Hillary had a baby and we just started back writing with her about two or three weeks ago,” Haywood reveals, noting that he and Kelley had continued working with other songwriters while Scott adjusted to motherhood, “just to keep that muscle working.”
The band has already completed between five and seven songs for their next release, and Haywood expects Hillary’s new addition to play a notable role in the group’s future.
“We’re over at the house writing and she’ll be up and down, feeding the baby,” he says with a laugh. “Write a verse, go back up stairs, feed the baby again. It’s fun — there’s a new normal for Lady A.
“Just last week we were writing a song and it’s fun to hear her say, ‘Gosh, that makes me think of what my daughter means to me now and how my world has been completely rocked by this,’” Haywood says. “It’s so funny to look back because when we started the band seven or eight years ago, we were all single, running around, not a care in the world. Now we’ve each gone through the steps of getting engaged, getting married and now, starting families. It’s a fun thing to write about and I think it definitely shows up in our music.”
CMT Crossroads airs Friday at 10 p.m. ET/PT.