Friday, November 19, 2010

Awesome Foursome: Little Big Town

The Reason Why
Little Big Town

Little Big Town released their fifth record, The Reason Why, by Fleetwood Mac in August. That’s right, you heard me. If you got the joke, you already know how awesome Little Big Town are, so you can go make popcorn or feed the chickens or something. If you didn’t, then let me clarify.

Little Big Town are a quartet who make songs that sound like Fleetwood Mac if Fleetwood Mac’s music was a little more Nashville and a little less LA. And did less coke. And didn’t break up with each other so much. And were still around. The first time I heard Little Big Town I thought “They remind me of….hmmm….Fleetwood Mac….” And almost immediately I saw the CMT Crossroads special they did with Lindsey Buckingham which sort of sealed the deal. ("Go Your Own Way") If you ever wished Fleetwood Mac were still making great records, wish no more: they are. ("Kiss Goodbye")

Although a fair share of the singing is handled by the men, it is the ladies who are the stars of the show. Like any good foursome (ABBA), the blonde one catches your attention first, and then you realize that the brunette does most of the heavy lifting. I won’t beat around the bush: Kimberly Schlapman looks like Glen Close in Jagged Edge: scary as all-get-out. But listen to her: she has a Marilyn Monroe voice. (“Stay.”) Karen Fairchild’s voice is the kind ordinary girls think they could probably imitate but probably not. (“Shut Up Train.”) The magic happens when they sing together. On record it is lovely; if you listen to them in practice, a capella, it is sublime (“You Can’t Have Everything," "Bring It On Home.")

Little Big Town put on a great set at this year’s Country Throwdown. I saw them close-up when they rode past me on a vehicle, and let me tell you something: they look better than normal folks. They look like famous people. They were every bit as good live as they sound on record, which is no surprise. They also make handy back-up singers; they appeared on Jamey Johnson’s “Macon” and The Zac Brown Band’s “Colder Weather,” enriching both songs with the well-practiced harmony of a band who has been singing together for donkey’s years. Also check out the collaborations they’ve done with pals Sugarland (“Life In A Northern Town” and “Walking In Memphis.”)

The Reason Why you should get this album? Why the hell not? It’s really good. (“Lean Into It”) And Christine McVie retired, already. ("I'm With The Band") Besides they look good in thigh-high boots and shake tambourines. 

Capitol Nashville

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