Kurt saw Little Big Town at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 14. One of my favorite venues, Kurt had this to say about the entertainment that night.
Country music is in the middle of a enormous transition with so many artists gaining newfound exposure across multiple mediums. From Blake Shelton to Luke Bryan, Lady Antebellum and Eric Church – so many different sounds and influences are shaping today’s country. Little Big Town is a prime example of creating a unique sound from familiar influences.
Just days removed from their first Grammy Award win for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their number one hit “Pontoon”, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet, a.k.a. Little Big Town (LBT), delivered an energetic Valentine’s Day performance to a 9:30 Club that was filled to capacity.
Little Big Town is currently riding an enormous wave of momentum bolstered by the success of their fifth studio album, Tornado, the Grammy win and learning this week that the Academy of Country Music has nominated them for four awards including Album, Single and Music Video of the Year.
While their launch to the top country music’s consciousness is newfound, LBT has been together since 1998, releasing their first studio album more than a decade ago in 2002. A true quartet, all four members alternate as lead singers performing a majority of songs that they wrote together.
Their opening song, “Pavement Ends”, sets the tempo for the night, “You can get you a buzz, blame it on the radio. Find a lighter, live a little high. Take it all in, let the good times roll.”
The group’s performance takes the audience through a wide-range of emotional highs and lows and everything in between with songs that include harmonies and lyrics reminiscent of The Eagles and Fleetwood Mack. You could easily see Don Henley penning and performing the haunting ballad “Your Side of the Bed”:
Staring at the ceiling, lying here all alone.
I said a prayer for you, then I said one of my own.
But you don’t reach for me, when you lie down quietly.
While some of their songs demonstrate a certain emotional vulnerability, other songs derive strong feelings of empowerment. Their most recent top-charting single, “Tornado” exudes attitude and vengeance, “The winds are getting stronger and the sky is falling through. You ain’t got much longer till the rage rips off the roof. I’m a tornado and I’m coming after you.”
Not to be too down on love, especially on Valentine’s Day, LBT’s set includes the feel-good love song and crowd-pleaser “Sober” as the standing room crowd sings along, “I love being in love, it’s the best kind of drug. Drunk on a high leaning on your shoulder, sweet like a wine as it gets older. When I die I don’t want to go sober.”
Little Big Town does an exceptional job keeping the audience emotionally engaged in their show. Unquestionably, the strongest reaction of the night came from the opening chords to their biggest hit “Pontoon” – you watch a snippet of the performance by clicking here.
@LBTmusic closed out the night with their 2006 top 10 hit and fan favorite “Boondocks”.
Unlike so many who have emerged in this era of instant celebrity and reality TV, Little Big Town’s success was not manufactured, labeled or gimmicked. It was rooted in a decade-long journey built on hard-work, integrity, brilliant song-writing and amazing talent.
Their song “Self Made” says it best:
Born a survivor, like father, like gun.
Built to outlast where you came from.
Nothing coming easy when nothing is handed to you.
Never by the book, always underestimated.
It’s hard to believe the life that you created.
Thanks, Kurt, for the bonus post. Can’t wait for more to come.