CMC Rocks Qld leading lights relish Aust acts
AMERICAN muso Dave Haywood loves nothing more when he's in the country than to switch on the music channel and "soak up the talent Down Under" for hours on end.
As one third of the popular country music band Lady Antebellum, Haywood chatted to APN about coming back to Australia and headlining the CMC Rocks Qld music festival in Ipswich early next year.
The band is enjoying worldwide success with their new album 747, currently sitting at number four on the country billboard chart.
"We tried to push ourselves in the studio to make the most upbeat and fun record we've ever done," Haywood said.
"It feels like a fresh new energy and I think the fans are receiving it that way and they can hear our excitement on this record."
Pumped to be heading west of Brisbane to headline the Ipswich festival, Haywood said the band revelled in performing at music festivals.
"When you're playing at a festival, you have people who are a little bit crazier 'cause it's normally a multi-event type thing," he said.
"You know, they're camping out or hanging out all day long listening to music, having a drink, partying and having a good time - you kinda get a crazier, tipsier audience if you're playing at a festival which is more fun for us.
"The more fun they're having, the more fun we can have on stage and I think the festivals can be a big party."
Haywood is particularly looking forward to playing alongside Australian country music favourites like Troy Cassar-Daley, Adam Brand and Adam Harvey.
"When we get down to Australia the thing I love is just turning on the music channels all day long," Haywood said.
"There's so many neat acts, pop acts, country acts, that come from Australia and it's so cool - you don't get that kind of access in the states to watch what's local, what's grassroots, what's coming up and the next big thing is what I love.
"There's so many great acts coming out of Australia so I just leave (the music channel on) all day while we're in the room, we just love it."
Lady Antebellum knows Aussie country music well, joining country superstar Keith Urban as the opening act of his 2011 world tour.
"I mean Keith Urban, he's been not only one of the most influential people for us but he's given us access to people all over the world," Haywood said.
"We toured Australia for the first time with him, Canada for the first time with Keith - he's a global superstar and he was very nice to allow us to come and open up for him.
"I love him - speaking of being musical, I mean gosh is there a more musical person in the country than that?
"He's so talented at writing and singing and playing guitar and entertaining - he's the total package and he's been great to us and it's been great to get to know him."
As for heading to Queensland in early March, Haywood and his other bandmates Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley are looking forward to coming back to play for Australian fans, who've embraced their music with open arms.
"We're fired up to be down there," Haywood said.
"It's just one of the coolest places in the entire world and the fans have always given us such a warm welcome."
CMC Rocks Queensland
Who's coming: US artists including Lady Antebellum, Big and Rich, Chris Young and Lee Brice, as well as Aussie acts including Troy Cassar-Daley, John Williamson, Adam Brand, Adam Harvey, Amber Lawrence, Harmony James and many more.
When it's on: March 13, 14 and 15 next year
Where it is: Willowbank Raceway, Cunningham Hwy just outside Ipswich
How to get tickets: Visit www.cmcrocks.com/ 2015/buy-tickets