Long before she toured the globe as a member of the multi-platinum country trio Lady Antebellum, Hillary Scott sang her very first songs with a different group of musicians: her family.
There was no shortage of talent in the Scott household. Hillary's mother is Grammy-winning country star Linda Davis, while her father is hit songwriter Lang Scott. Her teenage sister, Rylee, is a budding vocalist in her own right. Whether the Scotts were harmonizing around the family piano or singing old hymns in church, they were often making music together, laying the foundation for a singing career that would eventually take Hillary around the world with Lady Antebellum.
After the passing of her grandfather in 2011, Hillary alongside her family, leaned on their faith and music as a source of hope through the difficult time. The Scott family yearned to thank loved ones for their support and set out to record demos of family-favorite hymns. As the summer of 2015 wound down and Lady Antebellum soaked-in time off the road, the family's plans for a five song CD as a gift to family and friends, blossomed into what is now Hillary Scott & The Scott Family’s debut, LOVE REMAINS.
While the upcoming album's lead single "Thy Will" offers a universal message of hope, Hillary revealed the song was written about a more recent dark chapter in her life, a sudden miscarriage of her second pregnancy during the fall of 2015.
Looking for peace, she turned to Lang, Linda, Rylee, as well as her husband Chris and together they molded the project into a collection of faith-based songs.
Some were hymns that Hillary grew up singing in church. Others were newly-written originals. A handful were penned by her parents, while several others were originally popularized by artists like David Crowder and Dottie Rambo. The songs — old and new, classic and unheard, piano-based and guitar-heavy — help create an album that shines a light not only on the bond Hillary shares with her family, but the union they all share with God.
"The process of making this album has not only been creatively inspiring but I’ve also really been able to grow as a person," shared Hillary. "With all that we’ve gone through, we have been able to process everything together while solidifying the strong foundation that we have in our family."
With the help of producer Ricky Skaggs, the forthcoming album blurs the lines between gospel, bluegrass, country and pop. At the center of the mix are the rich, entwined voices of the Scotts, who take turns harmonizing and singing lead.
Under Skaggs' direction, they filled the album with light layers of piano, acoustic guitar, handclaps, mandolin, and banjo. Songs like "We March On" and "Beautiful Messes" became Sunday morning anthems, driven forward by bright, bouncing hooks and a steady pulse from Hillary's husband, who also drums for Lady Antebellum. Meanwhile, ballads like "Thy Will" and "Come to Jesus" were stripped back to their most basic foundations, packing a punch with little more than a melody, a message, and a handful of instruments.
The title track even finds room for all four vocalists to share the spotlight equally, beginning with a verse from the young Rylee. The result is a tune that Hillary says "defines our family in three minutes and fifty-five seconds." Elsewhere, the Scotts widen the family circle on "Faithful Love," beefing up the song's groove with splashes of piano from Bruce Hornsby and vocal harmonies from Christian artist Stephen Curtis Chapman.
"We didn’t want to make a sad record," noted Lang. "You’re always sad when you lose a loved one, but if you have that faith, it gives you hope. It gives you the courage to press on.”
Equal parts contemporary Christian album and folk family record, Love Remains focuses on faith, gratitude, and love. Hillary's grandfather looms large throughout the album, serving as the inspiration for "Safe Haven" — a bright, breezy tribute to a man whose "voice was deep just like his face" — and influencing the record's family-friendly tone. The closing track, "Ain't No Grave," pays one last tribute to the family patriarch, with bluegrass harmonies and stomp-clap rhythms that don't mourn his death as much as celebrate his time in the afterlife.
LOVE REMAINS offers plenty to believe in. These are songs that find the redemption in struggle, the peace in death, the joy in bonding with family members whenever times are tough. The stories behind the songs are personal, but the result is something universal. It's music with a message, and Hillary Scott has rarely sounded more at home.