(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)
I knew I loved Little Big Town for their music. But after my girls’ day out with the ladies in the band, now I know I love them for who they are. Here’s why: I spent the day on Friday (Jan. 27) with the band’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman. They were in Chicago for a sold-out show, and we decided to spend some shop-till-we-drop time on Michigan Avenue. And after browsing at Barneys, trying on shoes from designers so high-end I’d never even heard of them and scouring the clearance racks for some more realistic fashion finds, we headed to Ralph Lauren’s RL Restaurant for a very classy lunch. But when the talk turned to the foods we eat when we’re not in the big city, Schlapman said, “If you made me a bologna sandwich, I would eat it right now.” That says a lot about how down to earth these girls truly are.
So after that, we kind of put all the talk of Prada and Nina Ricci and Christian Louboutin aside and talked about the new music they’re making. Right now, they’re in the songwriting phase for a new album. And hearing their stories about how each one of those songs starts coming together was the best part of the day. They are working with a new producer this time (Jay Joyce, who most recently produced Eric Church’s Chief), and they’ve been writing with Lori McKenna, Natalie Hemby, the Warren Brothers, Luke Laird and more country hitmakers. I won’t give away all the songs they told me about, but I will say that two of them — “Pontoon” and “Your Side of the Bed” — sound like they could be hits from the titles alone.
The girls in Little Big Town also could not say enough good things about Keith Urban. He took them out on tour, which helped them build a bigger fan base. And even when they aren’t touring with him, he has them there in spirit. “Did you know that he still plays our ’Boondocks’ during his show,” Fairchild asked me. “He even has a video of us playing behind him when he’s singing.” They consider Urban to be one of the band’s biggest supporters. That, or maybe he’s just one of Little Big Town’s biggest fans.