On their new album, the trio celebrate their home teams: "Our spouses are our rock stars," Charles Kelley tells PEOPLE

By Eileen Finan
July 03, 2017 01:45 PM
Eric Ray Davidson

Lady Antebellum knows it might sound odd, but the truth is the band’s new album, Heart Break, has more to do with happy homes than broken hearts. Take the song “Home,” which was inspired by the trio’s spouses.

“There’s a line in the chorus: ‘You’re the steady through whatever/ The shelter from the storm’ and in my marriage, I’m the one who is up and down — really, really happy, really, really sad,” says Hillary Scott, whose husband Chris Tyrrell plays drums for the band. “I’ve called my husband my steady for a long time. He keeps me level. And for all of us, home is wherever our families are, which can be all across the world in a year like this, so the song acknowledges that.”

And guys in the group, Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley, penned the tune “Army” to honor the strength of their wives. “The concept of me as the hero, it’s not the truth,” says Haywood, who married wife Kelli Cashiola Haywood, a record label exec, in 2012. “She’s the one out there in charge of the whole battlefield.”

Adds Kelley of his eight-year marriage to Cassie McConnell Kelley, who runs women’s lifestyle website Womanista, “Our wives are rock stars. I feel like my wife is my life tour manager – without her it’s hard to maintain artistic creativity. She is just so good at maintaining balance in my life – going, hey, I’m planning a little vacation for us. You need it, we need it as a family. And then she’s doing this website and all these appearances … she’s rocking it!”

While the album does include a few tunes that lament love lost, the album title is a nod to the group’s year-long hiatus, time the three spent with family and on solo pursuits.

“That time was an appreciation,” says Kelley, 35, who produced both a Grammy-nominated album (Driver) and a son during his Lady A break. “For me it was like, ‘What am I chasing, what is this?’ And you get a kid too, which puts it all into perspective. You start going, ‘Hey I’ve got this wife that loves me and we’ve got these bandmates and we love each other and still enjoy being around each other and it’s like, ‘Man, what a good time to be alive.'”

Which is, incidentally, the title of another new tune on the album, and something of a mantra for the group’s re-energized outlook after their time under the radar.

“I remember feeling so thankful for the gift of time. It was the mundane day-to-day stuff that ended up being the most cherished,” Scott, 31, says of the break. “Just normal days at home. Dropping off my little girl at school and going to the grocery store and picking her up on time and not being in a rush.”

All three bandmates have young children — Scott’s daughter Eisele will turn 4 this month, Haywood’s son Cash is 2½ and Kelley’s son Ward is 16 months — and parenthood inspired the song “The Stars,” a love song for their kids: “The stars ain’t got nothin’ on you/Your heart burns much brighter than the moon/If you ever feel lost or broken inside/Just remember the way you heavenly shine/The stars ain’t got nothin’ on you.”

Says Scott of the tune, written with album producer busbee: “As a parent it’s part of our role to teach our children how to handle when things don’t go their way. So the song is like, ‘When you’re feeling down about yourself, remember how I see you. You can do anything you put your mind to.'”

The trio admit, however, that the kids have yet to embrace it as an anthem. “Cash only listens to ‘You Look Good,'” Haywood, 34, says with a laugh. “That’s the only song on the album he wants.”

Eisele “does get a little head sway with ‘Stars,’ but I’m telling you, we’re second to Moana and the Trolls soundtracks right now,” Scott says. “We know where we stand!”