Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood — better known as country trio Lady Antebellum — showed up and went boom after releasing their self-titled debut in 2008: A Grammy nomination for Best New Artist; wins in new artist categories at the ACMs and CMAs; a No. 1 song in “I Run to You”; and as of today, platinum certification. EW has now learned exclusively from the mouth of Kelley that their Officially Highly-Anticipated™ sophomore album will be called Need You Now, and it will be available at a record store or digital equivalent near you on January 26, 2010.

Kelley says the Lady As decided to name the album after their current single, “Need You Now” — currently in the country Top 10, and streaming at the bottom of this post — because that song represents the direction they’re trying to go this time around. “If we can wrap our heads around what makes that song special… it’s hard for me to put into words,” Kelley says. “I think the songs are a little more honest. There’s a little more urgency in them. Hillary said the love songs are about loving as strong as you can love, the hurt songs are about hurting as strong as one can hurt. ‘Need You Now’ is two people at their most desperate moment.” He adds, “We’ve become better writers. You know, people always say, ‘Hey, man, you get ten years to write your first record, and a year to write your second.’ But when we wrote our first record, we’d only been together for a year. We’ve actually had two years to write this album. So I almost feel like we’re more prepared now — just our lives are a little crazier. I feel like, for the most part, people will think it’s a better album. I hope so.” He laughs. “I can’t really say that without it being done.”

Need You Now is being produced by Paul Worley and the band; they’ve cut seven tracks and are going back in to do seven more this month, with an eye on whittling that down to 11 or 12. Kelley says to expect a few more traditional-sounding country tunes this time, as well as some that push it all the way in the other direction. After the jump, check out an exclusive in-the-studio video for “Need You Now,” and let us know if you’re psyched for more from this threesome. What do you want to hear out of the new album? And what are the chances they’ll unseat Rascal Flatts in the group category at the upcoming CMA Awards, given the fact that Kelley himself says, “I really truly don’t think we deserve that yet”?

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