Little Big Town is one of country music’s most lovable acts. The resilient four-piece vocal group wins hearts of critics and fans alike, while still earning the ear of country radio and the respect of industry peers. Little Big Town songs are simply unmistakable.
Country music’s favorite foursome is comprised of songwriting partners Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook, and they’ve been that way for two decades, which has a lot to do with their amazingly tight harmonies and on-stage chemistry.
Throughout their two decades and four record deals, Little Big Town explored a range of sounds, and every time they found an increasing amount of success. But over the past three records in particular, Little Big Town created an increasingly diverse range of sounds. They explored more and more topics in their songwriting and song selection, and they won over the industry outside of Nashville.
After spending a decade opening for acts like Sugarland, the band has become one of country’s best tickets in the past few years. They’re about to tour with Kacey Musgraves and Midland, followed by a co-headlining tour with Miranda Lambert.
Let’s take a look at the 10 best Little Big Town songs, ranked.
The first single off their critically acclaimed 2014 album Pain Killer, “Day Drinking” is a nice balance to the band’s increasingly eclectic sound. It’s about as close to a typical country song as they’ve come in the past five or more years, but it’s still produced in an incredibly interesting way. It’s a great example of taking a commonplace topic in country (drinking) and still making it unique.
The third single off their fifth album Tornado, “Your Side Of The Bed” is a collaborative effort from all four of the members as well as Lori McKenna. It hits hard, too, since the duet between Westbrook and Fairchild seems so stingingly personal. The real-life husband and wife duo trade brutally honest lines that any couple going through a falling out can resonate with. (It should be noted, of course, that they’re happily married for more than 10 years).
The first tune on Pain Killer, “Quit Breaking Up With Me” never got the single treatment, but the delightfully sassy song shows a side of the band that peeks through every now and then. It’s undeniably catchy in delivery and production and so relatable. Everybody knows some couple like this. On the song Fairchild sings, “I hate your daddy/You hate my momma/But one thing we don’t seem to hate is all the drama.”
In 2005, Little Big Town finally had a chance to break through after losing several record deals. They did so in a big way when the signed to Equity Music Group, an independent label formed by Clint Black. They released “Boondocks,” their first top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart and another tune written by all four members plus producer Wayne Kirkpatrick. The song also became one of their first platinum singles. The song had such a reach that even legend Etta James sang a version on her 2011 studio album The Dreamer.
2017’s The Breaker introduced another gorgeous phase for the band, and lead-off track “Happy People” showed the band was once again willing to explore interesting new sounds. They sang the song at the 2016 ACM Awards and released it as the second official single from the album. It petered out after hitting No. 40, which is both a shame and completely unsurprising. Despite country radio failing to hear the brilliance, the song remains a new fan favorite.
Another brilliant new song from The Breaker that country radio totally blew it on, “When Someone Stops Loving You” only made it to No. 37 on the charts. But it made it to No. 1 in our hearts, with Jimi Westbrook delivering perhaps the best vocal of his career.
Hey, let’s just keep with the theme of “incredible songs country radio inexplicably couldn’t get behind.” This one peaked at No. 27, but the fourth single from Tornado is a timeless song in ever sense. Every now and then Kimberly Schlapman gets a chance to step out and take lead vocals on a song, and she always floors us.
Lead single from their 2010 album The Reason Why, “Little White Church” is still one of those songs that makes the whole crowd go crazy in their live set. Though it didn’t dominate the country chart or set any huge personal records for the band or anything, it’s undeniably one of the most fun songs from their earlier repertoire.
Fresh off winning a Grammy award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, the band’s huge hit “Better Man” comes in at No. 2. Everybody on their dog knows by now that it wasn’t a solo write from Taylor Swift, but in the hands of any other band, there’s no doubt it wouldn’t be the same song. Despite being a band of four lead singers, they know how to help each other shine, and “Better Man” is a great example of that.
No surprise here, the song that set off a firestorm of ignorant backlash, “Girl Crush” is a career-changing tune that won CMA awards, Grammy awards, critically praise and international success. Not bad fora ballad in 6/8 time released to radio in the midst of the whole “tomato” debacle. It’s not just one of the top 10 Little Big Town songs, it’s one of the best country songs period.