Decorating the tenth anniversary celebrations of CMC Rocks Qld this March will be five-time CMA (USA) Group of the Year, Little Big Town. Noted for their superb harmonies – unrivalled unless it’s by co-headliners the Dixie Chicks – their crown as top country band of this decade is uncontested.
Releasing their eighth studio album, The Breaker, in time to bring it to our shores, it is worth a look back at a career that may have gone a little under the radar here in Australia with the exception of some smash singles.
Fifth album, Tornado, marked their spot in the top echelons and Pain Killer underwrote that claim in October 2014, led by the single ‘Day Drinking.’ That single set the charts alight but soon paled into insignificance with the colossal ballad ‘Girl Crush,’ which topped everything and crossed over into pop realms, ultimately winning the band two Grammy Awards in 2015.
Presumably to capitalise on the cross-over success of ‘Girl Crush’ and its’ giant status, last June the band released Wanderlust which set off all sorts of premature alarms in Fan-land that LBT was deserting country in quest of pop fame.
Little Big Town is Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman and Jimi Westbrook, and the very charismatic Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet spoke with Country Update about their impending visit to Australia, the release of a new album and we got the ‘non-country’ thing re Wanderlust off the table first up!
Karen: “That started out with us doing some writing sessions with Pharrell Williams – he just adores big lush southern harmonies and infectious melodies and it grew legs quickly and we ended up with this awesome batch of songs so we put it out as a side project – I love it, it’s a gorgeous album.”
CU: “Big lush southern harmonies and infectious melodies?? Sounds country to me!!”
Karen: “I know! Right?! Even if it’s not a country album, it’s not like anything we’ve ever done. It’s fun to be spontaneous and put it out there to the fans, because we want to, and not to overthink it, because it has brought us a lot of joy, and we think it will them as well.
So why not? It’s just music, you know?”
Ironically, ‘Better Man,’ lead single for The Breaker (the current most-definitely-country release) was written by Taylor Swift!
…read the rest in Issue 84