Grammy Award winners set for The Ritz
Having first entered the music scene some 15 years ago with hits such as Boondocks, Bring It On Home, Good As Gone and the Grammy-nominated single Little White Church, Little Big Town have just released their sixth studio album, Pain Killer, to rave critical review. The release was just a part of a phenomenal end to 2014 which also saw the band scoop the CMA Vocal Group of the Year Award for the second year running, perform at the CMA Award Show with Ariana Grande and receive a Grammy nomination for their outstanding single Day Drinking.
Now, the four piece band, comprising Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman and Jimi Westwood, are set to perform in Manchester at The Ritz alongside UK country outfit The Shires who were last in Manchester performing at Band on the Wall alongside Ward Thomas.
Writing Pain Killer saw the group take on a new creative process. Whilst previous material on their album Tornado saw the foursome writing collectively, Pain Killer bore witness to the more free spirited approach as inspiration took hold and songs were written wherever and whenever the moment took them. “We decided not to lock ourselves into writing as a group. We wanted a more relaxed and free approach,” says Karen Fairchild. “There was no pressure to write as certain groups at certain times. We followed the inspiration instead of forcing it. I don’t know that we would have written Tumble and Fall if the boys had been in the room,” she continues. “The writing process on that song was very therapeutic for all of us girls. Just as Faster Gun is a guy’s song, it probably wouldn’t have turned out the same way had the girls been in the room.”
The influences varied too – ranging from 50’s country through to funk and groove, as well as 70’s country to a cappella, bluegrass and straight up rock n’ roll. Boundaries were out of the window and they allowed the music to take them wherever it felt right. “We don’t think about boundaries anymore. We let go of that because it doesn’t work for us. We do better when we’re freed up,” Karen says.
“Pain Killer has a lot of different sounds without sounding unorganized,” commented producer Jay Joyce “It’s a more artistic album than LBT has done before. It has a lot of integrity.”
The album also saw collaborations with the likes of Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey, who all co-wrote Tumble and Fall, a promise to persevere in a relationship despite the challenges, and according to Kimberly Schlapman it’s a reminder to be humble and vulnerable.
And indeed the creative process and production of Pain Killer certainly hit the spot with Little Big Town. “Being in a studio, creating music and a moment that means something to people is magic” commented Jimi Westwood. “We love this record. The creative part of us is satisfied.”
With a long list of Grammy nominations (including a win for 2013’s Pontoon), American Country Awards wins and nominations and CMA awards nominations and victories, Little Big Town have established a stellar reputation and it’s difficult to imagine them not adding to their awards collection with Pain Killer.
Little Big Town perform at The Ritz on Wednesday 11th February alongside The Shires.
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