Lady A singer Charles Kelley is sober and ‘doing fantastic’ ahead of Dublin gig
Lady A back their singer ahead of band’s Country to Country show
AMERICAN country supergroup Lady A has rallied around singer Charles Kelley since he went public last August about his battle with booze.
Bandmate Dave Haywood this week told the Sunday World how the trio, set to play Dublin’s 3Arena tonight at Country to Country, stopped performing live last year after 41-year-old Kelley revealed to them that he wanted to work on his sobriety.
Lady A songwriter and musician Haywood says: “Charles has been working on his sobriety, so we took some time out for him to do that.
"That time was important for him, and, most importantly, for his family while he was working on his sobriety. I’m so proud of him. He’s about eight months sober right now and doing fantastic.”
Along the way, Kelley co-wrote a song with Dave called As Far As You Could, which chronicles his struggles with alcohol, from the way he depended upon it to be able to perform, to how it gave him “courage” the night he met his wife, Cassie.
“This song is my goodbye letter to alcohol,” Charles said. “This song was very therapeutic to write and I hope it can meet someone where they are.”
Asked if he and the group’s co-singer Hillary Scott had noticed that Kelley had an issue with alcohol, Dave says: “We had seen it at different stages over the years, to be honest.
"At times it was like ‘this isn’t anything at all.’ And then there’d be other times when you’d go, ‘OK, I can see that this is feeling a little bit excessive.’
“And, you know, we’re family, so I am with him every day of his life, practically. So I would notice at times that it got to be a little bit more than I thought… but more than anything he came to that realisation himself.
“We’ve had some big meetings and some big discussions together with him, but at the end of the day it’s a change that he wanted to make for his family, ultimately, and with the band as well.
"So again I’m just proud of him for taking that step… it’s a big step for anyone that has been around addiction.
"That’s a big, brave commitment to make.
“For him to be vulnerable, I’ve seen the response be so positive because a lot of people have some connection for walking through addiction and sobriety in some capacity, so I’m proud of him for sharing the story. This is bigger than the music for me.
“We’ve been friends since we were 10 years old, so at some point in time I’m just a friend, a brother and I wanted the best for him, for his life, for his family.”
Haywood says Kelley is now on top form. “He looks great, he feels great, he’s got a new perspective and I see a lot of great years ahead as a band because of it,” Dave tells me.
“I want us to be doing this for another 20 years. We want to keep this going for as long as we can, and this was an important moment for that. We have such respect for each other in this band, our kids all love each other it’s truly a family.”
Their Dublin show on Saturday will be among Lady A’s first this year. “You are our first big kick off for this year and then we head into tour after that through the US,” Dave reveals.
With hits such as Need You Now, Lady A have won fans all around the globe and enjoyed longevity.
“They say most bands don’t make it past seven years and we’re on 17 this year,” Dave points out.
“We’re very grateful. In our first few years we spent a lot of time in Ireland and the UK and it has paid off because we keep getting the phone call to come back. It’s such a joy because the fans there are fantastic.
“They give us the chance to play songs on the records that we don’t play here in the States because you guys are really true music fans. It’s a joy for us as artists. It gives us a lot of artistic freedom to tour there.”
With six young children among the three band members, Lady A prioritise family life over their career.
“We started out young and single and crazy, and now here we are with a lot of kids running around and a lot of priorities around school and all kinds of activities that we want to be a part of with our kids as well,” Dave says.
“As crazy as it looks from the outside, we do try to have a few months here and there to come home and be with our families and nest at home.”
- LADY A play the Country to Country festival at Dublin’s 3Arena on Saturda.
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