OFFSTAGE: Before Little Big Town Won, They Cranked Bruno Mars

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

You might wonder what the big winners at the CMA Awards do before, during and after the awards show. I know I do. So when Little Big Town walked the red carpet Thursday night (Nov. 1), I asked. And Karen Fairchild told me they pretty much have a party atmosphere in their dressing room, right next door to Lady Antebellum. And, they jam. “Charles [Kelley] and Dave [Haywood] have been playing tunes on the jam box. Like Ellie Goulding and the new Bruno Mars, which is so awesome,” she told me. But then came the time for Little Big Town to perform their hit song “Pontoon,” which ultimately won the CMA for single of the year later in the night. And Fairchild admitted that doing that one live was a little nerve-wracking. “I just can’t wait to have that sense of relief when it’s over and it’s gone well. We’ve worked for weeks on what we’re about to do, and parts of it are challenging. As soon as we get done we’ll be like, ’Phew.'” (Fairchild’s husband and fellow LBTer Jimi Westbrook agreed. “It’s hard to describe the relief. It’s like the most freeing feeling in the world,” he said. “Because then we can just have a good time.”) But the good time would have to wait a little while. Fairchild told me that right after performing “Pontoon,” they’d have to get back into the audience. “Right after we perform, the vocal group of the year award comes on. So we’re gonna go sit in our seats, and watch Lady A get it.” Fairchild’s prediction was way off on that one. Because, for the first time in their long and loyal country career, it was finally Little Big Town’s turn to take home that trophy.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.