Wandering Tennessee’s highways is the perfect test drive for the new music on Little Big Town’s Wanderlust album with Pharrell Williams. Sunshine, blue skies and rolling fields of green grass pair well with the pre-order’s instant downloads of “One Dance,” “Miracle,” “Work” and “One of Those Days.”
While it might not be country, the new collection shouldn’t be a surprise to loyal Little Big Town fans. The band can sing anything, as evidenced by their popular “Scattered, Smothered and Covered” series online. The Grammy-nominated Pain Killer album had elements of reggae and rock, and their earlier albums have touches of acoustic blues and soul.
Plus, Little Big Town has a reputation of being the nicest folks in country music. So, who wouldn’t want to work with them?
Brothers Osborne have toured with Little Big Town and saw their Southern hospitality win over members of the Hollywood elite at an after-party following the Grammy Awards in February.
In a recent radio interview, T.J. Osborne described the event as wall-to-wall celebrities, and all of them were orbiting Little Big Town like they were the sun.
“Everyone wanted time with Little Big Town,” he said. “They were the coolest people there and I felt so proud of Nashville at that moment. I mean, it was full of super stupid famous people. And everybody was like, ‘Little Big Town!’”
That night, the best country song award went to “Girl Crush” over “Stay a Little Longer,” but the duo didn’t mind.
“If that was our only Grammy experience, it was a dream come true for me personally,” John Osborne said.
“It’s not like anything we’ve ever done,” Karen Fairchild tells Billboard of Wanderlust. “It’s fun to be spontaneous and put it out there to the fans, because we want to, and not to overthink it, but just because it has brought us a lot of joy, and we think it will for them as well. So why not? We’re going with our gut and putting it out there. It’s just music, you know?”
On “One Dance,” Fairchild’s vocals channel Annie Lennox and Phillip Sweet sounds like Teddy Pendergrass over a pop rhythm reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”
The reggae-tinged “Work” is the Little Big Town answer to Desmond Decker’s “You Can Get It If You Really Want.”
“Miracle” has sonic influences of Steely Dan and Fifth Dimension, and the sunny “One of Those Days” prepares their audience to be ready for anything.
While recording Wanderlust with Williams, the band was splitting time in the studio with producer Jay Joyce working on new country music expected later this year.