Music News & Reviews

Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott brings strong sense of family to Rupp Arena

Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood co-founded Lady Antebellum. Kelley and Haywood kept her younger self focused and grounded, Scott said.
Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood co-founded Lady Antebellum. Kelley and Haywood kept her younger self focused and grounded, Scott said.

As Lady Antebellum's current arena tour heads into its final weeks, Hillary Scott's thoughts turn to family. Actually, she stays pretty focused on that on and off the road. But Thursday's concert at Rupp Arena by the multiple Grammy-winning country trio she co-founded with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, brings three aspects of family into keen focus: the one she comes from, the one she brings with her on the road and the one she has helped forge from nearly a decade's worth of rigorous recording and touring.

Let's start with the latter, which is Lady Antebellum itself. The trio sold over 11 million albums before its current platinum selling platter 747 (and its massive radio single Bartender) hit stores a year ago. For Scott, a Nashville-born singer passed over twice during early competition rounds for American Idol as a teen ("They were like, 'You're not the right fit. You were pretty pitchy."), the familial bond with Kelley and Haywood sits at the heart of the trio's lasting popularity.

"We've learned so much and have grown closer together as business partners, as friends and as bandmates," Scott says. "All of these different milestones that we've hit in our careers and in our personal lives have truly just brought us closer together.

"I'm the youngest in the band, so when we started, Charles and Dave really helped me grow. I was still in college and, like, 'Oh yeah, we'll figure all this out.' I had my moments of that, but they kept spurring me on. That's what good friends do. So this isn't just our job or our career. This is our life. So we've brought on every other part of our lives into this life."

That leads us to Scott's actual family, which accompanies her on tour. But husband Chris Tyrrell pulls his own weight. He has served as Lady Antebellum's drummer since 2011. That makes taking care of two-year-old daughter Eisele an easier and more portable undertaking.

"Working and living like this has become such a luxury, because, honestly, I don't think I could do it and leave her at home," Scott says. "I know I couldn't — not as the mama. There is that maternal instinct and that list of responsibilities that is just different, obviously, than the dad's. I'm very, very grateful. All three of us in the group have worked together really hard to allow our families the abilities just to be out when they want to be out or be home when they want to be home."

But Scott's Thursday performance will also make her the second of two generations from her family to play Rupp. Her mother, country singer Linda Davis, performed alongside Reba (McEntire) several times at the arena during the '90s. Scott clearly revels in the opportunity to, quite literally, follow in her mother's footsteps on a Rupp stage.

"Watching my mother navigate the music business and learning from her and how graceful she is in her everyday life is such an inspiration," Scott says. "She takes care of the people around her, whether it's her band members or me and my dad and my little sister or my daughter. My mom is the epitome of grace. She has a beautiful heart.

"I've gotten to watch her live that out from the time I had memories of growing up. She truly understands everything I'm going through on all sides because she's traveled a lot. She has performed in all of these incredible places, so it's always a really special experience to know that I'm in a room where she has gone before me. There is a real peace that comes over me along with the excitement of knowing I've joined her in making a memory there."