With Labor Day weekend looming, country music superstars Little Big Town graced the stage of The Great Allentown Fair to help bring summer to a sweet close. The band is touring off their wildly successful sixth LP Pain Killer, which hit #7 on the Billboard Top 200 and #3 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart. The band recently returned to the road after taking some time off when vocalist/guitarist Jimi Westbrook had surgery on his vocal chords to remove a polyp. With Jimi back in action, the band sounds as good as ever.
Although the sun had already set, Little Big Town opened with “Day Drinking,” the first smash hit single off their latest studio effort. The crowd raised their glasses and sang along. From there, the band proceeded to play a 23-song set filled with hits like “Front Porch Thing,” “Little White Church,” “Bones,” “Pontoon,” “Sober,” “Bring It On Home,” and a few others. The bulk of the set came from their latest album. The band played 11 of the disc’s 13 tracks during the show, giving the record a great push. Karen Fairchild’s stormy lead vocals were stellar on “Tornado,” and her duet with husband Jimi Westbrook on “You’re Side of The Bed” was heart-wrenching. The band’s future was in jeopardy for a brief moment when Westbrook had vocal chord surgery recently. When singing “Your Side of The Bed,” you could tell Karen and Jimi knew that. And you could feel the longing in their voices and how grateful they were to be standing on stage in front of each other signing that song once again. Kimberly Schlapman, the new queen of southern cuisine, had a great stage presence with her bobbing blonde curls and her sweet smile, and Philip Sweet’s dual presence on guitar and vocals was felt strongly. Together, the four produce arguably the best group vocal harmonies in music today.
At the end of the set, a huge mirror ball descended from the ceiling and the lights went low. The band slowed things down, performing their sensual smash “Girl Crush,” and then amped up the crowd once again with a rocking version their signature song “Boondocks.” The band did anything but disappoint last night, and with Westbrook back in fighting form, Little Big Town’s future us as bright as it ever was.
Little Big Town formed in 1998 and released their debut self-titled LP in 2002. After the album’s moderate success, the band broke out in 2005 with their sophomore effort, The Road to Here. The album peaked at #12 on Billboard Top Country Albums and went on to be certified platinum. The band garnered two Grammy Award nominations for Best Country Album and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals for the hit song “Boondocks”. With their next two albums – A Place to Land (2007) and The Reason Why (2010), the band made huge strides in their career. The single “Little White Church” off The Reason Why has become one of the band’s biggest hits, and the album debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200.
In 2012, the band released their latest effort Tornado. The album earned the band their first Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “Pontoon”. The song also became the band’s first #1 single. In addition to their Grammy Award, Little Big Town have won three CMA Awards, three AMC Awards, and one American Country Award throughout their career. – by Matt Bishop