Little Big Town opened up about band member Jimi Westbrook’s recent vocal cord surgery in a new interview.
Phillip Sweet and Kimberly Schlapman chatted with Country Countdown USA about Westbrook’s emergency procedure that caused the band to cancel all of its tour dates set for the month of July. Westbrook and Karen Fairchild, his wife and fellow group member, are still recovering at home with their 5-year-old son.
Sweet explained how Westbrook discovered his health issue: “It’s just a muscle, and there was a little bit of a polyp that got soft, and they wanted to get it before it got bad. So this is actually a great thing that he went in and did, and he’ll be much better afterwards, and the rest is gonna be great too.”
Although the condition can cause serious harm to a vocalist, many other notable artists have dealt with and fully recovered from the issue. “A lot of other singers have been in the same position,” Sweet explained, “and I think Jimi confided in Keith Urban, who had been down that road. He said it was the best thing he’d done, and now he sings better than ever, and so Jimi was encouraged by Keith and went forward. I think it’s gonna be the best thing for Jimi. For the long term of Little Big Town, this is the best thing.”
Sweet and Schlapman have both visited Westbrook since his surgery and say he’s in good spirits. He won’t be able to speak for a month in order to fully recover from the procedure, but his bandmates say he still has his own way of communicating. “We both went to see Jimi after he had his surgery,” Schlapman said. “I took him some home-made ice cream, and when I got there, he had his iPad strapped around his neck, and a friend of ours brought him a pen where he can write on his iPad.”
The band, which has been together for 17 years, has never had a summer off. “I get to be with my daughter when she’s out of school, and we’re playing, getting ice cream, it’s the most fun thing, doing house projects,” Sweet explained. “I feel all domesticated.”