Little Big Town’s CMA Awards News Comes Via In-Flight WiFi

Little Big Town received three nominations Tuesday (Sept. 10) for the 2013 CMA Awards — album of the year for Tornado, video of the year for “Tornado” and vocal group of the year, which they won last year. On top of that songwriters Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean picked up a song of the year nomination for LBT’s “Pontoon.”

Right after the nominations were announced, I talked with the band member Karen Fairchild, who had just flown home from Seattle. And it was on that flight that the band got the news via their management company.

“We had in-flight WiFi, so a couple of us started getting emails,” she said. “But we were in different sections of the airplane, so we were trying to discreetly pass the congratulations to each other. Kimberly [Schlapman], Jimi [Westbrook] and I were near each other, but Phillip [Sweet] wasn’t by us, so we were trying to get his attention.

“We didn’t want to have to get on the intercom and announce it, although we were so excited, we really did kind of want to. We just had such a hard time containing ourselves, though. I mean, album of the year? Oh, my gosh.”

After the emails, Fairchild said she used the WiFi to go on Twitter, where the congrats from fans had already started coming in.

“It always seems like our fans know everything first,” she said. “I love that.”

And why is that one nomination for album of the year so sweet for the band?

“To be doing this for 14 years, and then to be having the kind of year we’ve been having, it’s beyond overwhelming, really,” she said. “We’ve never had a CMA album of the year nomination. You always kind of put that over here in this bucket list of things that you hope happen. But you can’t think about it too much because that would get in your head. You’ve just got to get in there and make music and hope those things come, but you can’t put all those expectations on the creative process that way.”

The kind of country music that brought the foursome where they are today — with this hearty pat on the back from their fans and friends and peers — is the kind of music they intend to keep making.

“Jimi and I were just saying on the way home that if this nomination doesn’t inspire you to continue on as we head into the studio, what else could?” Fairchild said. “We want to push ourselves because that’s how this album happened for us. But we love what we’re doing right now. And we want to keep on doing it.”