Lady Antebellum  plans to record its third album in 2011, but before that it has a holiday present planned for its fans.
The crossover country trio will release a six-song EP, entitled "A Merry Little Christmas," on Oct. 12 exclusively through Target stores, Billboard.com has learned. The set will feature five holiday favorites, including a rendition of "Silver Bells," and one new song, "On This Winter's Night." The latter was co-written by Tom Douglas, who also collaborated on past Lady Antebellum singles "I Run to You" and "Hello World."
"We recorded all of this in July," Haywood tells Billboard.com, "so it was a little bit peculiar being in the studio in the middle of July in Nashville, Tenn., 100 degrees outside, sweating, and doing a Christmas record. But we had a great time doing it. We had the studio all decorated...We brought everything we had from our houses and decorated and tried to get into the spirit. It was a fun experience."
Haywood says that for "On This Winter's Night," he and bandmates Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley "tried to take some of our Christmas memories, and some of the things we remember from the holiday season, and put them into a song. It was definitely a new experience for us; we'd never written a Christmas song, really, before. But it was a lot of fun trying to look at what we do and how we spend the holidays and take that feeling and put it into a song."
Lady Antebellum is currently pushing "Hello World," the fourth single from its double-platinum sophomore album, "Need You Now," and is in the midst of its first-ever headlining tour. But Haywood says the trio also has "a bunch of songs we're piling up to start recording" in 2011, and is trying not to be affected by pressure of following up its current success.
"We do our best to really not let any kind of success add any pressure to what we do," he explains. "I think the way that we got to where we are is just sitting on a couch and not thinking about anything else but creating music that means something to us. That's what we love doing, is playing and writing and performing. So we're just in tour mode and writing mode. We write when we're out here [on the road] and then play shows at night."
Lady A's tour runs through November 20, after which Haywood says the group will "take some time off in December to be with our families and stuff, because we've been gone this entire year." The trio will also perform at the CMA Awards on Nov. 10 in Nashville, where it's up for five trophies.
"If I had to pick something I would love for us to win, even though we don't focus on [awards], the Album of the Year is to me the highest honor," Haywood notes. "Anything that awards an entire body of work, I like that. We pour everything we got into these albums. To be nominated is a huge win for us, anyway, but if we could take one home, we'd try get on that one."
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