They have not been without their trials and tribulations, and they’ve worked very hard to be the band they are today, 18 years later. I think it’s pretty incredible to be 15, 16 years in [since the band were signed] and make a record I was truly excited about… There’s still that fire in us… and I felt like we really found it on this record, says Jimi Westbrook about their time spent together recently recording their sixth album PAIN KILLER (2014), the release that included the BBC Radio 2 championed track Girl Crush.
Looking back to when Little Big Town started out, so much has changed for what was then an up-and-coming-band and is now set to play the O2 Arena for Country to Country this March in London for the second time (the first was back in 2013). It’s hugely different – I feel at the core we are the same people that we were back then. You know, we can dress up a little more glamourously and we can buy a few more things. But… I tell you, after we struggled for so many years, th ere were certainly way more times to play on this side of the fence and I really don’t want to go to the other side. says Kimberly Schlapman.
You do think back over the time that we’ve been together -we’ve seen so many changes in the business, even thinking back to when we got our first record deal to now. The business of music has evolved so drastically in leaps and bounds and in different directions. It’s pretty incredible to sit here and think back on all those times because they were much different times. We’ve seen a lot of things come and go and are just glad to still be here, being inspired and making music, adds Jimi.
Miles of touring and hours of flyering have over the years been replaced with technological advances in the form of YouTube videos, streaming and digital purchases of singles made via iTunes and the likes. What was once a tough gruelling battle of getting your name heard above the masses in the form of performing on stages across the globe night after night, often making been made easier at all or is it just harder in a new sense? There’s purely just survival with people streaming music and a lot of writers aren’t getting paid what they should be – so I think it goes both ways. 1t can be easier, and yet it can be tougher just to make ends meet and to help yourself survive by making music. You know, this business has always been challenging and I think it will continue to be challenging, says Jimi.
Pain Killer… Natural Evolution
PAIN KILLER, the new album has been an incredible hit so far for the band, and the lead single Girl Crush, has been received incredibly well both here in the UK and Stateside. You know, I think that song here – and hopefully there too – has just opened up our music to a brand new audience. I know that we’ve been feeling that here in the States even… like it’s going to another level for us, says Jimi.
PAIN K1LLER is definitely an evolution of the Little Big Town sound. 1t offers their familiar upbeat and bright songs, but mixed this time with a heady understanding of their vocal abilities and a taste for songs that fit the tone rather than the moment. Th ese songs are all very fleshy -they breathe and harness a new energy about the band, that maybe gave them a little more freedom and a little less focus on the same channelled sound.
When we go in to make a record [we always] want to push ourselves and do things that we haven’t done and experiment and I feel that we did that on this record. We’ve always tried to keep evolving and not stay stagnant and in the same place, so I think all of us were really excited about how it ended up. [It] felt like we took some steps forward in doing some new things and that’s what you always want to do as an artist. You want to keep exploring your territories, says Jimi.
Kimberly adds: … It still feels like home. It still feels like a natural evolution because we did push ourselves.
The fresh and uplifting tone of Little Big Town’s music, will continue to inspire audiences to singalong. They’re feel-good country, and their music resonates with a variety of audiences, not just country music fans.
People are looking for a little escape… that’s what they turn to music for, to take them to some place, even for just two or three minutes of happiness and joy and I think that’s the beauty of music, because it transports you to those places like nothing else does…