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'Compass' guides Lady Antebellum in new direction

With the success of their recent hit "Compass," the group's first bona fide, toe-tapping, hand-clapping sing-along, Lady Antebellum has stepped up the pace of its concerts, guitarist-pianist Dave Haywood says.

"Having fans stand up for the entire show is pretty new for us," says Haywood, whose country band will perform Friday in Hollywood.

The band's excitement for "Compass," and the idea that it would juice up their concerts, prompted Lady Antebellum to issue a quick reissue of its album "Golden." It originally was released May 7, 2013. The deluxe re-issue came out Nov. 12.

An upbeat banjo and lyrics such as "Let your heart, sweet heart, be your compass when you're lost" have attracted fans, who made "Compass" No. 1 on the country charts. When coupled with "Downtown," another recent hit, the vibe at Lady A shows, has changed, Hayward says.

"It's been great fun," Haywood says. "It's a lot more high-energy than past shows."

The band already has logged its share of hits, including "American Honey" and "Need You Now," the definitive drunk-dialing song. ("It's a quarter after one," Hillary Scott sings, "I'm a little drunk and I need you now.")

But fans want to be on their feet more, says Haywood, who adds the band learned how to entertain an audience from opening for Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney.

"We don't want to compromise our music artistically. We still want to do songs that speak to us," he says. "But a lot of times, we're fans' one night out, and they booked the babysitter. They make a lot of plans, pay for parking and tickets, so it's a big moment for them to get out and have fun. We want to give the best show that we can."

" 'Need You Now' and 'Just a Kiss' make for dramatic moments in the show, but we've had a lot of dramatic moments," he says.

The band has been touring since 2007, after longtime friends Charles Kelley and Hayward re-connected in Nashville, and then recruited singer Hillary Scott.

Haywood says Lady Antebellum is right in line with modern country music. "I think we lean a little more toward the wider base and a more contemporary sound, whether it's pop, rock or country," he says. "Country is now is at a really exciting place. To me, it's become modern pop music."

Haywood, who grew up in Augusta., Ga., says he had "eclectic influences." These include the Allman Brothers, the Doobie Brothers and tunes he heard in church.

"We hope it's relatable stuff," he says of Lady Antebellum's music. "Our sounds come from growing up listening to everything going back to the Beatles. And Hillary has a huge Beyonce thing going."

Haywood says his biggest thrill has been collaborating with Stevie Nicks on "CMT Crossroads," a show that pairs country acts with performers from other genres.

"Spending three days,12 hours a day and working on stuff was great," he says. "She'd go off on tangents and tell stories, [about] how she talked to Paul McCartney. She truly has the ultimate real rock 'n' roll stories. That experience, it's just hard to even put into words."

"And she was so complimentary to our music. To hear her talk about our songs, I just didn't even know that she knew our songs," he adds. "Then, she spouted out album cuts, saying, 'Can we do "Cold as Stone"?' I mean as a little 10 year-old trying to figure out 'Landslide' on the acoustic guitar, it was like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe this is happening.' "

Lady Antebellum

When: 8 p.m. Friday, May 16

Where: Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

Cost: $54-84

Contact: 954-797-5531 or

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