A few weeks ago, Little Big Town gave their fans a little hint about what's to come in 2014.
"Once everyone gets #SOBER, let's all do a little #DAYDRINKING. Spring 2014," the band tweeted.
So when they were in Chicago earlier this month, I asked the band if I could hear it. They said no. Still, I persisted. I just wanted to know, was it a song that encouraged day drinking, like in a "Pontoon" kind of way? Or was it a sad song, perhaps about someone doing too much day drinking and in desperate need of an intervention?
As if it was the latter, Jimi Westbrook quickly started in on a twang-heavy tune he made up on the spot: "Day drinkin'/Your life is sinkin'." (And FYI, Westbrook's voice sound just as cool when he's singing fake lyrics.)
Eventually, Karen Fairchild did say it's not a sad song.
"It's fun," she said. "It's completely fun."
Although the band wrote it a while ago, it inspired them to get their next album going.
"It kind of led the way on the record," she said. "You've got to find one or two pieces that feel like, 'Ah, this is worthy of building this whole record around.'"
Bandmate Kimberly Schlapman admitted that making this record -- more so than all the previous albums -- would be different for so many reasons.
"There's more pressure, but there's more confidence, too," she said. "Because we did have a very successful record, so we know we can do it, but there's pressure to do that again."
Fortunately, they don't have to do it alone. Jay Joyce, the producer Little Big Town worked with on Tornado, is working with them again. And according to Fairchild, Joyce is just one part of a really, really big team.
"People don't realize that when you walk by a shelf at Target or Walmart and see a CD on the rack -- or you go on iTunes and click through the hundreds of artists who've made records -- what it takes to do that," she explained. "There are so many people who make that happen and get that music out.
"It's our responsibility to write the songs and make good records and be connected to our fans. That's our sole responsibility. But then you have to hand over your music to all these people you trust. There is a massive group behind us, and they are so gracious. The stars have to align, and the fans have to deem it worthy."