Before reaching country music stardom, some area residents remember Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood as a pair of talented teens attending Lakeside High School.
But while Haywood always seemed destined for a career in music, Kelley showed an initial aptitude for playing the links.
“We knew the boys more for their golf prowess,” Columbia County Commission Chairman Ron Cross said of Kelley and his brother Josh. “They played in a lot of youth and junior tournaments there in West Lake.”
Cross was neighbors with the Kelleys in West Lake for about a decade and watched Josh and Charles grow up.
“They were pretty good golfers,” he said. “They got away from it in college and went into music.”
It was Josh who convinced Charles to move to Nashville with Haywood to try their luck as songwriters, Cross said.
Early on, Haywood showed an aptitude for music, said Danny Key, a family friend and music minister at Trinity on the Hill United Methodist Church, where they Haywoods attended.
“You knew he had the ability to make it big,” Key said. “He lived music and was exceptional. His guitar skills as a senior in high school were remarkable.”
At Trinity on the Hill, Haywood was president of the Love Unlimited youth choir and often created original arrangements of gospel songs performed by the choir.
“He did a lot of arranging of contemporary Christian songs and was already producing on his computer at home,” Key said. “Other musicians may have a great voice or great talent, but they’re not so well-rounded as Dave.”
Along with third Lady A band member Hillary Scott, Kelley and Haywood will perform in a special acoustic concert Friday at the Evans Town Center Park.