Up Close with the Ladies of Little Big Town

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Little Big Town is motor-boatin’ their way to complete country domination. There’s no question the last year has been hard-earned success for the talented quartet-they brought in two No. 1 singles, a hit album, and their first Grammy Award. Plus, the group is nominated for four big awards (including Album of the Year) at the 2013 Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas (Sunday, April 7).

But don’t mistake their hot career and country chic good looks for a diva lifestyle, especially when it comes to staying in shape. “It’s easy to be healthy with a chef that cooks your food or a trainer who gets you up early in the morning. We’re not there right now. We don’t have a trainer out on the road with us. We’re with every girl in America trying to stay in shape and keep their health,” says vocalist Kimberly Schlapman.

So whether it be doing laundry while grabbing a quick yoga class in between loads or fitting in Barre Method during a short lunchbreak, the ladies of Little Big Town are just like us; real, hard-working moms who face the same roadblocks we do to exercise and eat right. “We face the same challenges that working moms face, juggling kids and trying to figure out how to stay healthy and maintain our weight to feel good about ourselves,” says other LBT member Karen Fairchild.

Both Kimberly and Karen look amazing, so we sat down with the dynamic duo to steal some of their secrets.

SHAPE: You spend so much time on the road. How do you ladies stay in such amazing shape?

Karen Fairchild (KF): We both probably approach it in a similar fashion, but I’d definitely say portion control and eating healthy is key. After shows is probably the hardest to be disciplined. You come off stage and are always really hungry. So that’s when it’s all about making a good choice. I’m not saying I always do, because I don’t (laughing). We also try to keep good sleeping patterns.

Kimberly Schlapman (KS): Portion control is key for me too. When I want to get more disciplined, I’ll use an app that helps count calories. For me, calories really matter. On the road, almost every day I’ll do 100 squats, or sometimes I might do 50 squats and a bunch of leg lifts. I’ll split them up right before I get in the shower and before I go to bed, or sometimes I’ll do all 100 at once. Whatever I do, I try to get those in.

SHAPE: What about when you’re at home? Any specific workouts you like?

KF: I’m really into Barre Method. It’s so great for a woman’s body. We’re blessed in Nashville because we have amazing teachers, especially at Relevé One. And Suzanne Bowen streams amazing classes online. When I’m in a dressing room, I’ll get a yoga mat out and I’ll stream her classes, using the sink, a chair, or a desk as a barre! Last night I didn’t get a workout in, so as I was getting my makeup and curling irons out, I was up on my toes on a yoga mat with two-pound weights trying to curl my hair. You just fit it in when you can.

KS: When I’m home, my hubby and I have a treadmill and an elliptical. He runs seven days a week but I don’t do that much. My little girl also helps with my body strength. She’s five and still wants me to hold her. I’m of course happy about it, but it definitely gives my upper body a workout!

SHAPE: It’s got to be so tough eating right on the road, especially with all the sweets and snacks around. What do you typically eat to give you the energy you need to perform?

KF: I try to have a lot of veggies with salmon and salad before the show. You don’t want anything too heavy, but I do need carbs to last me through the show, like a small portion of mashed potatoes. We both adhere to the philosophy of not denying yourself a sweet. We want to enjoy life so we take a bite then put it down, or just eat something small.

KS: We’re Southern girls so I love southern cooking and I have a big sweet tooth. I just try to limit myself but pretty much eat what I want. I don’t eat fried food every day; I eat healthy grilled food and lots of salads both on the road and at home. I actually went without sugar for two weeks and then ended up at Krispy Kreme (laughing). I need to have small morsels of sweets. If I have a day with the fam with a big family dinner, then I’ll indulge… but then the next day or two I’ll really be strict. I learned that from Dolly Parton, by the way!

SHAPE: Since you both always look so fabulous, you’ll surely be ready for the ACM’s! How does it feel to be nominated?

KF: It’s amazing! We love this award show. The ACM’s are always so fun in Vegas and back with our friends from the business. Being nominated for Album of the Year is just overwhelming and we couldn’t be more excited to have four nominations.

KS: Going to Vegas is always so fun! The ACM is actually the first award we’ve ever won as New Vocal Group of the Year so they will always be really special to us.

SHAPE: When you were recording “Pontoon,” did you have any idea it would turn out to be such a huge hit?

KF: We hoped it would be. It reminded us of the way we all grew up. It really was so nostalgic and brought back so many memories.

KS: It was such a fun summer, living that song with the fans. We began to get videos of people on pontoons out on the lake-it really became the anthem of the summer. It’s just amazing to see all the support.

SHAPE: You’re touring with Keith Urban soon! How excited are you for that, and what’s it like working with him?

KS: We are so excited! We’re out touring in July. He took us on our first arena tour, when “Boondocks” hit the radio. He’s just a good friend and is so very supportive. We’ve been background singers for him a few times too. We’re excited about his music and family. It’s going to be a great summer, all the way through the beginning of next year!

For more info on all things Little Big Town, check out their official website or follow them on Twitter.

  • By Kristen Aldridge

Little Big Town strike a nerve with Grammy-nominated song

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Little Big Town’s Grammy-nominated song “The Daughters” struck such a nerve with its pointed lyrics about double standards for women that a protester even showed up at one of their concerts.

“Wow, we’ve really made it,” joked singer Karen Fairchild.

The song, which they debuted at the Academy of Country Music Awards last April, features a chorus with the lyrics, “I’ve heard of God the son and God the father/I’m still looking for a God for the daughters.”

Some fans took offense, but Grammy voters nominated the track for best country duo/group performance — an award the band has won three times. Little Big Town will go up against songs by Brooks & Dunn featuring Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Maren Morris featuring Brandi Carlile and Brothers Osborne during the awards show in Los Angeles on Jan. 26.

“We got picketed one night at a concert,” said Fairchild, who co-wrote the song. “Somebody saying we were going to hell. I mean, you’re talking about four people who grew up with faith in the church.”

Singer Kimberly Schlapman had one response to the protester: “No, we’re not.”

Fairchild, Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet have had some experience with generating a bit of controversy with their songs, but it’s worked out well for them in the long run.

When “Girl Crush” initially hit the airwaves at the end of 2014, a small number of fans thought the lyrics were about a same-sex relationship. That didn’t slow the momentum of the song, however, which became a multi-platinum, multi-week No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot country songs chart and went on to win two Grammy Awards and two CMA Awards.

For “The Daughters,” they felt certain that it would find an audience, even without sending it to country radio, because of the timely message about how women are objectified.

“When Karen brought the song to us, I identified with every line, especially growing up in the South where those kinds of expectations are placed on young women,” said Schlapman.

“The Daughters” isn’t the only song with a message on their ninth studio album, “Nightfall,” to be released Friday. “Sugar Coat” examines the facades created to cover up fractures in a relationship, although those pearl-clutching listeners who were offended earlier might not like it when Fairchild sings the lyrics, “Go to hell.”

The orchestral string and piano ballad “Problem Child,” written by the foursome with co-writers Sean McConnell and Tofer Brown, is a call-out to lost and lonely children everywhere.

“That’s another song that speaks to a lot of what we’re seeing in the world, especially with young people feeling disenfranchised and feeling like they are outsiders, like they don’t belong, that they’re alone in their struggle,” said Westbrook, who is married to Fairchild. “Having kids, that’s just an absolutely heartbreaking thought to me.”

After working for years with producer Jay Joyce, the group found themselves self-producing this time around and they take a light touch with instrumentation and production that lends the album an airy, dreamy and romantic feel.

“We’ve learned a lot about actually the space on the track being just as important as anything that’s going down,” said Fairchild.

The album opener, “Next to You,” features all four singing in unison and their close harmonies blend and build to a crescendo of choral voices, reminiscent of Arcade Fire.

“Because we were in the (vocal) booth together, we’re seeing each other breathe so that the phrasing is connected,” Fairchild explained.

They worked with some new co-writers including Daniel Tashian, best known for co-producing Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy-winning “Golden Hour,” on the spacey and vibey title track, “Nightfall.” And the Northern Irish artist Foy Vance, who is signed to Ed Sheeran’s label, helped them write a gospel-soul-country track, “Forever and a Night,” in which Sweet takes the vocal lead.

But the singers of “Pontoon” and “Day Drinking” know how to have a party as well, and they serve up the drinks and jam out to trumpets and marching drums on “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” a reprieve from some of the moodier tracks on the record.

“The trumpets started off as mouth trumpets in the (writing) room that day, and we were really close to making it mouth trumpets (on the track,)” Westbrook said.

“’Cause we think we’re really good at mouth trumpets,” added Schlapman.

The group kicks off their headlining tour Thursday at the Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall in New York City and continues through May.

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Little Big Town has been in the game 21 years now and has succeeded at releasing distinct albums that are both unique from one another and from what is trending in country music at the time. Starting with its 2017 release, The Breaker, the group has taken on an ethereal, mystical aesthetic and sound. While The Breaker featured light, whimsical lyrics and dancing melodies, the group’s latest release, Nightfall, carries more weight. It continues with the dreamy, delicate sound, but dares to dig deeper into darker themes. It is a mature sequel that adds depth to an already sonically transformative album.

Just about every song on the 13-track album is slow, backed by lonely guitar picking or melancholy piano. The lyrics, filled with references to dreams, the moon, and starry skies, are enunciated and clear, giving the listener a front-row seat to the musical story as it develops. The songs on Nightfall follow no specific pattern—“Next To You” starts off softly and slowly, with instrumentals in the chorus and eruptive pianos and electric guitars in the bridge. It does not follow the pattern of your typical song at all, making it less likely to fade into the background.

On “Nightfall,” the album’s namesake, Little Big Town combines themes of light and dark, day and night, into one fascinating and complex piece. The song starts off with Karen Fairchild’s deep, solemn vocals and lines such as “Let the dark help us remember what we’re fighting for.” When the chorus breaks through with Kimberly Schlapman’s bright voice, the whole song picks up. With the words “You and I fall,” each voice falls in pitch, one after the other, creating a layered effect representing the lyric’s literal meaning.

While most of the group’s songs give equal focus to each member, some surprise solos give Little Big Town a new sound. “Forever and a Night” is spearheaded by Phillip Sweet, showcasing his powerful voice and especially beautiful harmonies with Fairchild. In the bridge, sparks fly as the group harmonizes, twisting melodies around in ways only Little Big Town can pull off. Schlapman takes on her own solos in “Throw Your Love Away,” a slightly more upbeat song that puts her unbelievably smooth voice front and center. The lyrics are clever but not overbearing, fading in and out along with Schlapman’s floating vocals.

One of the record’s glimpses back to Little Big Town’s older sound comes on “Over Drinking,” a witty song with “I should’ve seen that coming” hooks. While the wry lines might feel like a blast from the past, the song serves as a segue to the latter half of Nightfall—a tinge of empowerment and freedom is found in lyrics such as “If I’m out at a bar, and I’ve tied one on / I’m drunk ’cause I’m happy, not drunk ‘cause you’re gone.” A sense of independence and confidence is radiated from here on out, giving each song at the end of the record a special introspective weight.

“The Daughters,” which is nominated for Best Country Group Duo/Group Performance at the 2020 Grammy Awards, packs a powerful message about the double standards women face. With lyrics poignant enough to shine above the rest, this track carries the entire record. Lyrics such as “Girl, shoulders back and stand up straight / Girl, watch your mouth and watch your weight / Mind your manners, smile for the camera” hit too close to home for many. The piercing chorus changes slightly during the bridge, evolving into the powerful lines “I’ve heard of God the Son and God the Father / And damn, I love my son, I love my father / I’m just looking for a God for the daughters.” On the album’s cover, the group’s two women—Fairchild and Schlapman—are dressed in bright colors while Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook fade into the darkness of the night sky. This tiny artistic detail alone reflects the album’s unapologetically feminist theme.

While the group received some pushback for the song, “The Daughters” was largely praised by country fans as well as by those unfamiliar with the genre. Little Big Town is no stranger to incorporating themes and concepts that might be controversial for country music. The group’s vulnerable 2014 release “Girl Crush” received similar criticism from people who likely misunderstood the lyrics. In the end, “The Daughters,” the driving force behind Nightfall as a whole, is what other country artists want to release but are ultimately too afraid to. It’s an incredibly powerful message coming from a group brave enough to take a stand and make social commentary in 2020.

Featured Image by Capitol Records

The American actress, Morgan Fairchild was born on February 3, 1950 to Martha Jane and Edward Milton McClenny. The professional acting career of her began during late 1960’s through small roles in films but gained initial recognition through her role as Jennifer Pace in the TV series Search for Tomorrow during 1973 to 1977. After that, the actress has gone on to star in a large number of TV shows out of which some of her notable performances have been in Flamingo Road, Falcon Crest, Friends, Cybill and Fashion House. Although her major source of fame and success has been her work over television but Morgan has also landed roles in several movies throughout her career like Sleeping Beauty, Venus Rising, The Perfect Ending and eCupid. While when it comes to her off-camera life, Morgan Fairchild married Jack Calmes in 1967 but the couple ended their marriage in 1973. After a couple of years of having divorce, she began dating film company executive, Mark Seiler and the couple is still in a relationship without a official marriage.

Morgan Fairchild Personal Details:

  • Birth Name: Patsy Ann McClenny
  • Nicknames: Morgan Fairchild
  • Date of Birth: February 3, 1950
  • Birthplace: Denton, Texas, U.S.
  • Occupation: Actress
  • Zodiac Sign: Aquarius
  • Eye Color: Blue
  • Hair Color: Blonde

Morgan Fairchild Body Measurements Height Weight Bra Size Vital Stats

Morgan Fairchild Family Details:

  • Father: Edward Milton McClenny
  • Mother: Martha Jane McClenny (High School Teacher)
  • Siblings: Cathryn Hartt (Younger Sister)
  • Spouse: Jack Calmes (m. 1967–1973)
  • Partner: Mark Seiler (1980–)
  • Children: None

Morgan Fairchild Career Highlights:

  • First Film: Bonnie and Clyde (1967)
  • First TV Show: Search for Tomorrow (1973)

Morgan Fairchild Body Measurements:

The actress Morgan Fairchild body measurements complete details are listed below like her height, weight, dress, bust, hip, waist, bra cup and shoe size.

  • Height: 5′ 4″ (163 cm)
  • Weight: 63 kg (138 lbs)
  • Bra Size: 36D
  • Cup Size: D
  • Shoe Size: 10 (US)
  • Body Measurements: 40-28-40

Morgan Fairchild Interesting Facts:

  • She was kidnapped on two separate occasions during early 1970’s.
  • Morgan has been dating Mark Seiler since 1980 and the couple still hasn’t married officially.
  • Her birth name is Patsy Ann McClenny which she changed later to Morgan Fairchild out of which her first name has been taken from the title character of her movie Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment.

Karen Fairchild Bio

Who is Karen Fairchild?

Karen Fairchild is an American country singer. Furthermore, she is also the founder member of Little Big Town. She has found the band alongside Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook in 1998.

Their debut album with Capitol Nashville named The Reason Why climbed at No 1 on the US Country charts.

In addition, their controversial song Girl Crush became a huge success and also won several awards such as Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Digital Song of the Year.

Karen Fairchild: Age, Parents, Siblings, Nationality, Ethnicity

Karen Fairchild was born on September 28, 1969, in Gary, Indiana, United States. She belongs to American nationality but her ethnicity is unknown.

Talking about her childhood and early life, there is not any information regarding it.

Concerning in her education, she attended the Samford University in Birmingham Alabama and completed her graduation.

The Career Journey of American country singer Karen Fairchild

Karen Fairchild began her career as a performer in the Christian vocal group named Truth. Later in 1998, she formed a band called Little Big Town alongside Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook in 1998.

The band launched their self-titled debut album in 2002 and at the 2014 CMA Awards. Moreover, the band released their debut album on the Monument Nashville label before moving to Equity Music Group.

Their debut album with Capitol Nashville named The Reason Why climbed at No 1 on the US Country charts.

Besides this, the band has also landed some of the big hit songs from their first album Little Big Town includes “Don’t Waste My Time” and “Everything Changes”. In 2006, “Good as Gone” and “A Little More You” from their second album The Road to Here. Furthermore, “I’m with the Band” also peaked at number 32 on the country chart.

From their fifth studio album, Tornado, “Pontoon” won the Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance at the 55th Grammy Awards. In addition, Themselves and Girl Crush has won a couple of major awards.

Awards achieved by Karen Fairchild

So far, she has won more than half a dozen awards in her career with her band Little Big Town. She has received Best Country Duo/Group Performance and Digital Song of the Year award for Girl Crush. Furthermore, she has also grabbed Vocal Group of the Year, Top New Vocal Duo/Group, and few more for ‘Themselves’.

How much is Karen Fairchild’s Net Worth and Salary?

Being a member of the famous country band, Karen earns a good amount of money from her profession. However, there is not any information regarding her net worth and awards.

Karen Fairchild: Rumors and Controversy

Once, Karen Fairchild and her bandmate stuck in controversy for the lesbian theme song ‘Girl Crush’.

Furthermore, the co-host Alana Lynn at 104.3 FM in Boise, Idaho, also stopped playing the song after getting angry calls and emails about “promoting the gay agenda.” Apart from that, there are not any drastic rumors regarding her personal and professional life.

Karen Fairchild: height, weight, hair color

There is not any information regarding her height and weight. Furthermore, she has light brown eyes and black hair.

Karen Fairchild on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Karen Fairchild is pretty active on social media. She regularly posts on her social accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Furthermore, she has more than 166k followers on Instagram and around 36.5k followers on Facebook. In addition, she has more than 22.4k followers on Twitter.

Also know more about the early life, career, net worth, relationships, and controversies of other singers like Ronan Keating, Jimmy Wayne, Hayley Kiyoko, Sofia Carson, Zella Day, Toni Braxton, Trisha Yearwood, Becky G.

Jimi Westbrook + Karen Fairchild’s Most Adorable Relationship Moments [PICTURES]

Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook of Little Big Town are the embodiment of one of country music’s sweet love stories. Though they weren’t together at the band’s beginning in 1998, Fairchild’s personal life shifted after her divorce, and she and Westbrook grew close.

“I think Jimi and I had a special friendship and connection that blossomed when we were both single,” Fairchild tells Us Weekly. “Sometimes you just have to cross that line and take a chance, and when we had that opportunity, we did. Of course, we didn’t want to mess up the band, but we decided it was worth the risk.”

The couple married on May 31, 2006, though they intentionally kept it quiet for a few months.

“She has a beautiful heart, and she’s absolutely gorgeous,” Westbrook says of Fairchild, “and I just love her dearly.”

It’s not always easy to work with your spouse — especially if you’re traveling in the tight quarters of a tour bus. Fairchild tells Us, “It’s challenging. We are together 24 hours a day, so that is a very good thing and a very bad thing. If you need a break, there is nowhere to go, but the great thing about it is we get to enjoy this incredible journey with the band together. The band is like one big marriage.”

Together, Fairchild and Westbrook have one child, Elijah Dylan. Click through the photo gallery below to see some of the couple’s cutest moments throughout the years.

Country music darlings Little Big Town stopped to chat with SheKnows on the red carpet at the American Country Awards, and revealed that they love when fans send videos. Particularly those in which they’re half-naked.

Little Big Town had a great 2012 on the charts, but what really made them happy is a fan video involving a stripper pole, they told SheKnows in an exclusive red carpet video from the American Country Awards.

The band’s 2012 album Tornado really connected with fans, it seems. Tornado‘s first single, “Pontoon,” which hit No. 1 on the country charts, is a case in point.

“Fans responded to that song and made it their own anthem,” says Jimi Westbrook, who says it became a summertime sensation and inspired many fan videos.

“They would send us videos of their families on their own pontoons having their own parties,” Westbrook tells SheKnows.

CMA Awards style: Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum >>

“The craziest one was a pontoon that actually had a stripper pole on the front, which was very creative, I thought,” Westbrook says. “Kudos to your creativity,” he says right into the camera, no doubt thrilling the video senders.

“And there was a girl dancing to “Pontoon” in a really beautiful itty-bitty white bikini,” finishes Westbrook’s wife and bandmate Karen Fairchild.

“That little YouTube clip made its way around the world,” says Fairchild.

“Very entertaining!” says Little Big Town’s Phillip Sweet, putting his thumbs up.

He probably watches it every day, SheKnows suggested.

“He’d better not,” mock-scowls Fairchild.

Image courtesy Judy Eddy/WENN.com

In fact, when we caught up with the Nashville-based harmonizers, they were in New York on a break from taping NBC’s “Late Night With Seth Meyers.” All this from a band that was once mistakenly billed as “Little Big Foot.”

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“We’ve had some funny experiences. We did a show with Keith Urban back in the day, where they actually printed Little Big Foot on the ticket,” said band member Jimi Westbrook with a laugh. “I still have that ticket.”

In fact, looking back at their lengthy resume, all of Little Big Town’s big moments — from hosting the CMAs in 2018 and 2019, to honoring Cher at the Kennedy Center Honors — are more recent. More than two decades in, Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Westbrook’s star is still on the rise.

Ahead of two shows at the Boch Center Wang Theatre Feb. 7-8, we caught up with Westbrook, who is married to bandmate Fairchild, to talk Smokey Robinson, Taylor Swift’s high school essay, and the group’s early struggles.

Q. You guys were just at the Grammys and got to present with Smokey Robinson.

A. Oh man, that was incredible. That’s one of those things you don’t dream up. We thought, “Man, I wonder if he would sing just a little a cappella with us as we walk out,” and he was totally into it. Literally three minutes before, we were trying to figure out what all of our parts were. And, he’s such a sweetheart of a guy. And, God, to be able to put your voice next to his is unbelievable.

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Q. It must’ve been strange being that day with Kobe Bryant’s .

A. Absolutely. You could feel the heaviness in the air, everybody carrying a heavy heart. I posted this later: There’s no better way to celebrate music than in moments like that, because music soothes your aching heart, and cries along with you, and heals and lifts you up.

Q. You guys seem to be one of these bands that just keeps getting bigger and bigger.

A. Yeah, we’ve had an incredible journey. We’re hitting over 20 years, and I love the fact that we’re as hungry as ever. That seems to be what we’re about — chasing that inspiration, trying to evolve and not do the same thing twice.

Q. I saw something on Instagram about how you guys almost got arrested shooting the new album cover?

A. We might’ve snuck into Malibu and taken some pictures late at night, around midnight . We don’t have to go into the details. We’ll just say it was a kamikaze photo shoot. You know how us country folks are. We just go a little rogue sometimes.

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Q. So how did you guys all come together?

A. I’d known Karen for a long time. She and Kimberly met going to choir camp, they’d been friends a long time. They started brainstorming about doing some kind of harmony group. They reached out to me, and we all hit it off. We decided we’d add another person, to give us more flexibility musically, and found Phillip. We all felt like kindred spirits form the start.

Q. And your truck had been stolen right before that with your demo tape?

A. Yes, it had. Karen was trying to get a demo tape from me, and I said, “You’re not going to believe this — this sounds like the dog ate my homework — but someone just stole my truck with my only demo.”

Q. You struggled a bit at one point.

A. Well, it started off really great. We got a record deal within a few months, debuted our first performance at the Grand Ole Opry. We’re getting picked up in limos. We thought, “Oh, it’s on. This is it.” We had no idea the struggle that was ahead of us.

But I appreciate every part of that, because we dug in and discovered who we were as a band, and the things we wanted to do, and the things we didn’t want to do. We became really good at trusting our own gut feeling.

Q. When you say struggles, you mean record labels?

A. Yeah, I mean, all of that. There’s an incredible amount of story packed into that timeline. But yeah, losing our first record deal. There’s a lot of personal tragedies we all suffered through, and worked through together, as family does. I think that’s why we’re such close friends now. We’ve lived a lot of life together.

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Q. There’s a little bit of a happy ending there with you and Karen getting together.

A. We were in the band seven years before we were together. She had gotten a divorce, and I was in a longtime relationship that ended, and it was one of those things like, “Oh hey, we’re single. What are you doing? I think I’ll come hang out with you.”

Q. Right. And Taylor Swift was an early fan of yours. She had written about you in high school?

A. She had written a school paper on us, on perseverance. Then a few years later, she got a record deal, and exploded. But there was one of our platinum parties early on, she came and presented us with a platinum version of the high school paper she wrote on us. So sweet. We’ve known her since she was 16. We ended up cutting one of her songs a few years ago that became big hit for us. So we’ve got a long story with Taylor.

Q. That was “Better Man.”

A. Yeah, we loved it. We felt like it was a big smash from the first time we heard it.

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Q. Any low points where you felt like giving up?

A. There was never a point where we all looked at each other and said, “We can’t do this anymore.” But this business is tough. We’ve been in this business 20 years — you see the good, the bad, and the ugly. There are a lot of struggles. But we always felt like we had something to prove.

LITTLE BIG TOWN

At Boch Center Wang Theatre, Feb. 7-8 at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $29, www.bochcenter.org

Interview was edited and condensed. Lauren Daley can be reached at [email protected] She tweets @laurendaley1.

Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman Says ‘We Did Things Differently’ on Band’s New Album Nightfall

It was late December, and Little Big Town‘s Kimberly Schlapman was traveling home from a busy weekend at Dolly Parton‘s Dollywood. With daughters Dolly, 3, and Daisy, 12, in the back seat and husband Stephen beside her, Schlapman was looking forward to spending a quiet New Year’s Eve at home, counting her blessings.

“Personally, I feel so…I mean this word is thrown around all the time, but I feel so incredibly blessed,” a relaxed-sounding Schlapman told PEOPLE. “I’m happy and I’m content and I feel completely fulfilled. Granted, God has given me both sides of that story.”

She took a moment, then continued. “Heck, as a band, we have been on both sides of that story.”

And while she refrained from expounding on the remark further, it’s safe to say that she was referring to the rough years, the tumultuous years filled with tragedy and broken promises. The times in which the foursome — Schlapman, Karen Fairchild, 50, Philip Sweet, 45, and Jimi Westbrook, 48 — doubted if they would ever find a permanent pocket within country music.

Image zoom Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Philip Sweet Becky Fluke

RELATED: Ingrid Andress on Singing with Idols Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman: ‘I Practiced “Not Fangirling” in the Mirror’

But those years are far behind them, and with the Friday release of their ninth studio album, Nightfall, Little Big Town is now one of the most influential groups in the genre.

“This record is a grownup record,” said Schlapman, who turned 50 last October. “We are mature and we are raising families and these songs tell the stories that we want to share with the world. We still are all in for a good time! But we’ve never been more comfortable in our own skin.”

And while Nightfall has them feeling at home, Schlapman admitted that they were looking to stir things up a tad for their followup to 2017’s The Breaker.

“We did things differently this time,” she explained. “We self-produced this album and we have never done that before. It was so hard. So many challenges come up that we didn’t even think about — things like schedules and responsibilities. But as a band, we pulled it off.”

Image zoom Little Big Town’s Nightfall Reid Long

They collectively made the decision to be more open than ever before to different sounds, writers, and ways of saying what the group felt the world still needs to hear.

“It’s different, but recognizable,” Schlapman said. “We cut 34 songs, and from the beginning, we didn’t put any boundaries on ourselves in terms of the songs. We ended up with 13 songs and that was excruciating to get down. We love all kinds of harmony, from bluegrass to gospel to ’70s stuff. We were very open-minded through the whole process.”

And then they faced the challenge head-on.

“We felt the pressure,” Schlapman said. “I have to be honest. The pressure was on us to figure out what kind of record we wanted to do. The pressure just made us work even harder to make something we knew we would love and our fans would love.”

Shortly after work began on Nightfall, the group could clearly see what trajectory the album would ultimately take thanks to one single, somewhat sultry song.

“When we heard ‘Next to You,’ it just became the catalyst for the entire record,” she said. “We just knew it when we heard it. We were like, ‘That’s it.’ We heard its potential. The movie in our head started rolling.”

Soon, songs such as the addictive “Over Drinking,” the Grammy-nominated “The Daughters” and the thought-provoking “Problem Child” came to be.

RELATED: Little Big Town Talk Their Kids’ Musical Talents at the 2019 Grammys: ‘They Love’ Performing

And then came “Sugar Coat.”

“I think everyone can identify with the lyrics of the song,” Schlapman said of the tune co-written by Lori McKenna, Josh Kerr and Jordyn Shellart. “The whole thing about a women having to look perfect and the secrets she keeps to herself while doing that and wondering what’s going on with her husband. It was another one of those songs that got a movie running in our heads.”

And this time, that movie turned into a music video starring actress Kate Bosworth.

“We filmed all day, but when we saw what she did, we were like, ‘We don’t even need to be in this video!’” Schlapman recalled. “She was perfection, oh my goodness. So many women put on a show. I think this song is going to make women feel like they are not alone.”

Granted, Westbrook and Sweet can feel that just as much as Schlapman and Fairchild.

“They are always supportive,” she said. “Philip has a daughter himself. They have always been about empowering women. They have sisters and they have mothers and they have great love and respect for women. They have never had any hesitancy to grab onto the opportunity to put out a song such as “The Daughters” or “Sugar Coat.” They believe in the message. I mean, it goes all the way back to “Girl Crush.” They have always been all in.”

RELATED: Miranda, Maren and More! Inside Little Big Town’s Ryman Residency Return

Next up, the band will embark on a groundbreaking new tour, which was partly inspired by their 2017 residency at the Ryman Auditorium.

“Well, we play Carnegie Hall…I mean, c’mon,” Schlapman said with a laugh. “I feel like, for the first time, we are being very particular as to what we want to give our fans during our live show. We have really planned out what we want to put out there. From the time we had the opening slot with Keith Urban, we have wanted to give fans a true experience via our live show. This go around, it’s truly a visual journey. There are all kinds of emotions throughout the show. Visually, it’s going to be incredible.”

Image zoom Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman Rick Diamond/Getty Image

Schlapman also took a moment to pay some major props to her longtime friend and bandmate.

“I have to say, Karen has truly been our quarterback with all of this,” she said. “On this record and with this tour, Karen has come up with some incredible ideas, so I have to give her so much praise. She deserves it. We have been on a journey and I hope fans can live that journey now right along with us.”

CMT Hot 20 Decade: “Girl Crush,” Little Big Town

by CMT.com Staff 9/21/2019

Editor’s Note: CMT Hot 20 Countdown takes a look back on 10 years of incredible music with Decade, a weekly segment that features a modern country classic that made its greatest impact between 2010 and 2019. This week, Little Big Town talk about their 2015 hit, “Girl Crush.”

CMT Hot 20 Countdown airs at 9/8c Saturday and Sunday mornings. Here’s Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook, in their own words:

Jimi: It’s one of those moments that, when you hear a song and the hook turns like that one does, you go… “Wow! I didn’t see that coming.” And it’s hard to do that writing a song, so, they nailed it and we absolutely fell in love with it.

Phillip: We were lucky enough to be the first people to hear it. So it wasn’t like played all over town before it got cut. We got to hear it days after it was written. were writing with the Love Junkies and said, “Play us something you guys have been writing.” And they were like, “Well…”

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Kimberly: “We have this song. Mmmm, we wrote it yesterday. You won’t cut it but we’ll play it for you.” We were like, “Don’t play it for anybody else!” “We want it!” Soon as we heard it. When you figured out what it was about, it took my breath away. So special.

Karen: I love so much that it’s Liz Rose, Lori McKenna and Hillary Lindsey, who are three of the most prolific female songwriters in the business — and that in itself is a task. But to do something so profound! And it had such an impact on pop culture. Like, it really took us to a different level. It took us to the Grammy stage, singing that, and it elevated us in a way that we couldn’t have dreamt up in a million years.

Phillip: I think musically we wanted to pay homage to that classic feel. And that really open-space breath you feel in that drag, because it allows that feeling of what the song portrays and what the lyric portrays to stand together. It gives that same feeling and that’s what we wanted. Not to water that down in any way. It didn’t need a whole lot of flash and shimmer. It needed purity. And to tell that story and to sell that lyric, it needed electric guitar and very minimal instrumentation.

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Karen: There was a little bit of controversy when it first started. Not everybody in the morning time, like on their drive to school, wants to hear provocative lyrics, and the girls wrote it in a provocative way on purpose, so it says, “Taste your lips.” It’s about jealousy. It was like a modern version of “Jolene” in a way.

Phillip: I think a lot of people weren’t listening closely enough to the lyrics so they might have heard something else.

Karen: Well, they just want to hear little tiny things and then make something big of it. We got a little bit of pushback and then our artists friends came to the rescue and started posting, and the positive way outweighed the negative. … When Reba wears a “Girl Crush” hat, then we’re like, “We’re good.”

19 Photos of Little Big Town’s Fashion Game Going From Not to Hot

Little Big Town has long been the darling of the Country Music Association and really, Nashville in general. You need a tribute performance? Call Little Big Town. You need a spokesgroup for inclusion? Call Little Big Town. You need a story about working hard and persevering through adversity? Call you know who.

The foursome of Little Big Town, made up of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Philip Sweet, may be the most universally loved and respected group of all-time in any genre of music. And despite the fact that they’ve been making music for decades, there’s rarely an ill word ever said about them. Unless it comes to some of their past fashion choices. As a group and individuals, LBT has really been through some ups and downs and a lot of those came in the form of their overall aesthetic. Let’s just say– they weren’t always on the best-dressed list.

Around 2012 with the release of Tornado, LBT started to break out of the box and by 2014 they were the most stylish group around.

19 Photos of Little Big Town’s Fashion Game Going From Not to Hot:

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Little Big Town Tickets

Little Big Town has produced eight studio albums since the band’s formation in the late 1990s. Since its inception, the group has consisted of the same four members: Kimberly Schlapman, Jim Westbrook, Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet. Little Big Town is known for producing country music featuring four-part vocal harmonies. First famous for hits such as “Little White Church,” “Boondocks” and “Pontoon,” the band’s 2015 single, “Girl Crush,” became the best-selling country single of that year. Their 2017 album, The Breaker, debuted at No. 1 and No. 4 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and 200 charts, respectively. Little Big Town released its lead single, “The Daughters,” from its ninth studio album that debuted in April 2019.

From Little Beginnings to Big Fame

First meeting at the University of Alabama, Kimberly Schlapman (then Kimberly Roads) and Karen Fairchild reunited in Nashville where Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet joined them to form Little Big Town. After a deal with their first label failed to produce an album, the group contracted with Monument Records, releasing their debut album, Little Big Town, in 2002. Their rough introduction to the country music genre continued when Monument’s Nashville branch dissolved. Needing to find a new label, Little Big Town signed with Equity Music Group where the band released its third single, “Boondocks,” which peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Leaving Equity to sign with Capitol Nashville in 2008, the group remains with the label to this day. Little Big Town achieved its first No. 1 hit with the release of “Pontoon,” the lead single off its fifth studio album, Tornado. The group has gone on to win over 20 awards and release more chart-topping singles, such as “Girl Crush” in 2015 and “Better Man” in 2016.

Where can I buy Little Big Town tickets?

At StubHub, every purchase is backed by a 100% FanProtect guarantee. Securely buy or sell Little Big Town tickets from your computer or mobile device at the world’s largest ticket marketplace.

Where can I attend a Little Big Town concert near me?

Little Big Town is heading across the United States in 2019. See the group at venues such as the Heartland Events Center in Nebraska, the Innsbrook Pavilion in Virginia, the Amphitheatre at the Wharf in Alabama or Choctaw Grand Theater in Oklahoma, among several others.

Which songs might I hear at a Little Big Town concert?

While attending a Little Big Town concert, expect to hear many fan-favorite songs, such as “Little White Church,” “Pontoon,” “Better Man,” “Day Drinking,” “Rollin’,” “Stay All Night,” “Summer Fever,” “The Daughters,” “Girl Crush,” “Save Your Sin,” “Bring It On Home,” “Sober,” “When Someone Stops Loving You” and “Boondocks.”

Is Little Big Town a member of the Grand Ole Opry?

Yes, Little Big Town was invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Reba McEntire in 2014. The group accepted the invitation and was inducted by Vince Gill and Little Jimmy Dickens. Members of the Opry perform regularly on the show.

How many awards has Little Big Town won?

Over the course of the group’s career, Little Big Town has won over 20 awards. These awards include eight Academy of Country Music Awards and nine Country Music Association Awards. Little Big Town has won four Grammy Awards. Three Grammys are in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance category for “Pontoon,” “Girl Crush” and “Better Man.” The fourth is the On the Hill Award in 2018 for their 20 years of professional performance. The group also has an Emmy.

Which artists are similar to Little Big Town?

Fans of Little Big Town may also enjoy the music of Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban, Sugarland, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton.Back to Top

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