Born:Jul 23, 2018 (age 0)
Few mainstream country acts capture the spirit of resilience in country music like vocal group Little Big Town. Officially formed in 1998 in Nashville, Tennessee, the country four-piece spent years riding the highs and lows of Music Row politics before truly stepping out in the spotlight.
Georgia natives Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild formed the foundations of the group while in college. A friend of Fairchild’s then-husband, Alabaman Jimi Westbrook later came on board to make the group a trio. Phillip Sweet from Arkansas completed the band when he joined in 1998.
Defined prominently by their harmonies and rotating lead singer mentality, Little Big Town eventually signed to Mercury Nashville. However, the band spent years in limbo. Creative differences between the group and the label resulted in no albums or singles.
They signed to independent label Monument Records in 2000 and released their debut self-titled album in 2002 along with single “Don’t Waste My Time.” Personal life changes hit the group hard, including two divorces. The band’s label also dissolved, leaving them once again without funding. They took up day jobs while continuing to tour when possible.
Producer Wayne Kirkpatrick took an interest in the group and began working with them to further craft their sound. The band landed their third label deal with the now-defunct Equity Music Group (started in part by Clint Black). Buoyed by single “Boondocks,” the album produced four top-20 singles and earned platinum certification.
The band recorded their third album with Equity, but eventually left the label, which shut its doors due to financially difficulty. They moved on to Capitol Records, their fourth label in just under 10 years. In 2010, their single “Little White Church” cemented the act as bona fide country stars.
The band brought in rock producer Jay Joyce to produce their 2012 album Tornado, a decision that has since launched one of the most successful creative relationships in country music. The album produced their first No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs charts, “Pontoon.” That song also won the band their first Grammy at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013.
Since then, Joyce has produced all of their country records, including 2014’s critical darling and Best Country Album winner Pain Killer, which produced the career-defining, award-winning blockbuster “Girl Crush.” That tune won the Grammy award for Best Country Song. In 2014, Reba McEntire invited Little Big Town to join the Grand Ole Opry.
They then released an eight-track passion project with producer Pharrell Williams called Wanderlust before returning to country in 2017 with The Breaker. That album produced “Better Man,” which won at the 60th Grammy Awards for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The tune was notably penned by country singer and now global pop sensation Taylor Swift.
Little Big Town has won three Grammy Awards. They also won eight CMA awards, eight ACM awards, an Emmy award and several others, including a CMT Artist of the Year award in 2015.
Little Big Town became the first band to hold a residency at the famed Ryman Auditorium throughout 2016 and 2017. They also launching their own headlining tour dubbed The Breakers Tour and are also hitting the road with with contemporaries like Miranda Lambert.