Little Big Town have lots of reasons to raise a glass this week as they celebrate the release of their highly-anticipated sixth studio album, Pain Killer, their induction into the Grand Ole Opry and a high-caliber performance on the upcoming CMA Awards .
“It’s the next step, the next evolution,” the band’s Karen Fairchild told CMT Hot 20 Countdown about the new album. “And we do feel like we have a good luck charm in our back pocket or something.”
“I feel like we’ve been sitting on it for a while,” added husband and bandmate Jimi Westbrook. “I’m ready.”
“It’s like having a baby,” Kimberly Schlapman concluded with a chuckle. “You’ve got to get it out to see what it looks like and hope everybody else thinks it’s as cute as we do.”
The new album’s first single, “Day Drinking,” premiered way back in May at the CMT Music Awards and climbed all the way into the Top 10 of Billboard’s country airplay chart. But the band members say that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“I feel like ’Day Drinking’ is just the party starter,” Fairchild said. “There’s so much more there. It’s just the pre-dinner cocktail. It’s the foreplay. It’s the cocktail hour.”
While longtime fans can still count on the four-part harmonies they’ve come to know and expect, some of Little Big Town’s new songs may be surprising.
“It’s pretty dramatic,” Fairchild admitted. “I’m anxious to do the Pain Killer tour in the fall because we can now visually bring the drama to life.
“I mean, it’s not like it’s going to be Cirque du Soleil,” she joked. “But I think … it’s a really fun record, and there are lots of light-hearted moments where we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and then there are some very meaningful lyrics.”
Along with the new music and tour, the band has much more to be excited about. On Oct. 17, they became the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry and can currently be seen on NBC’s The Voice mentoring members of Blake Shelton’s team. Plus, they’ll be performing with pop star Ariana Grande at the CMA Awards on Nov. 5.
“We want to make it bigger and better every time,” said the band’s Phillip Sweet about their awards show performances.
“It’s more like, ’How far can we take it and what will make it the most exciting for fans?'” Fairchild added. “We’ve learned through the years. ’Pontoon’ on the CMT Awards on that double-decker pontoon boat changed everything for us. That performance — that connection with the crowd — it was a really big deal, and we saw the power of giving a visual live performance to a song that they’ve been hearing on the radio. It takes it over the top. So, yeah, fingers crossed it’ll be a good one.”
“We’re cooking up something good,” Schlapman promised.
Tune in to CMT Hot 20 Countdown Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 25-26) at 11 a.m. ET/PT.