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Little Big Town
NIGHTFALL

The night, with its curtain of darkness, contains many things. Hope, doubt, faith, need, resolution, joy, rage, dreams, exhaustion, romance. From that first dusky “Babe…” over a few vacillating guitar notes, Nightfall’s intimacy washes over listeners. Opening with a velvety song of desire, “Next To You” suggests a subtle look at how the world gets the best of us, how connection heals and ultimately, love is the answer.

Easily Little Big Town’s most nuanced project, upon inception, they didn’t realize they were on the verge of producing their ninth studio album. But with songs to capture, creative fires to stoke, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook went into the studio to develop what was there with no masterplan. It wasn’t long before the fiercely musical foursome realized they’d found a new creative horizon – and they just kept going until Nightfall emerged from 34 songs, myriad experiments and the inherent harmony singing that has defined the Grammy-winning group since they emerged with the steamy, stark “Boondocks.”

“From the first time we sat in the living room, it was amazing that we all gravitated to the harmonies we sing,” explains the sunny-voiced Schlapman. “In 20 years, we really have stayed with the harmonies we settle into organically. We’re all really strong and opinionated, and we’ve always been really involved, but over the years, we’ve become more comfortable with who each of us is. Our different personalities and strengths have become the thing that brings us together as us.”

Nightfall includes the Grammy-nominated consciousness tug “The Daughters,” debuted to universal acclaim on “The Academy of Country Music Awards,” the cascading loveliness of “River of Stars,” the Mexican horn stomping revelry of “Wine, Beer, Whiskey,” the James Taylor-esque hope of “Bluebird” and the naked piano/gospel vocal chorus-tinged soul plea of Sweet’s raw vocal pledge on “Forever And A Night.” This is grown-up music, complex, wise, yet vulnerable.

“It’s so easy to keep layering guitars on top of each other,” Westbrook says of the sonics. “Every sound is intentional on this record. We’d empty tracks out to create more space. Those spaces let the energy come through. The space allows you to absorb what we’re saying.”

In the ache, there is surrender. In the conflict, solutions. Fairchild injects “Sugar Coat’s” whispery self-examination with a dose of awareness. Ruminating “Sometimes I wish I liked drinking, Sometimes I wish I liked pills/Wish I could sleep with a stranger, but someone like me never will,” her clear-eyed examination of societal expectations suggests the potential for a rejection of the good girl’s smile in the face of what’s handed her with a truth-reckoning “One of these nights I’ll meet you in the driveway, and tell you to go to Hell…” “How many of us are going through Hell in secret?” Schlapman asks. “For generations, women were taught not to complain, not to explain, while behind the scenes, it’s a total disaster. Secrets are so cancerous, and most of us have them. That’s the empowerment: she suffers for knowing…until…” Fairchild agrees, “Through her awakening she finds resolve and is willing to tell the truth. No more sugar coating.”

It’s followed by Westbrook’s searching “Problem Child,” which turns the rejoinder of “What’s your problem, child?” into a recognition and invitation to seek solace. As Fairchild, who Schlapman calls, “the Tom Brady of the project,” says of the song’s tenderness, “We had just written this song and instantly wanted to record it. That’s Jimi’s very first vulnerable vocal, where he said, ‘I don’t know if I know this enough to really sing it…’ That made this vocal, and everything this song is trying to communicate.”

Sweet sees the cinematic juxtaposition of it. “With those beautiful strings and that vocal, it speaks to everyone that has felt like a black sheep, like a problem child. We’ve all been that person, whether (it was when) we were a child or not, and it takes something sad and cloaks it in hope.” Not that Nightfall is a somber place. Yes, it opens the gates to reflection, but in that comes freedom and joy.

“Over Drinking,” which sounds like a throw down, celebrates moving through angst to lighter ground… “I’m Over Drinking, Over You.”
Real country, classic material with a metaphor that turns the tropes inside out. Pretty profound. “If I’m out at a bar and I’ve tied one on…I’m drunk ‘cause I’m happy not drunk ‘cause you’re gone.”

“When ‘Over Drinking’ got texted to my phone,” Fairchild marvels, “it was such a fun song, country and smart. We immediately knew it belonged on Nightfall, although the record was basically mastered and finished. We knew this was a song our fans would love. We didn’t waste a moment despite being on the road.”

Dispatching a runner to a local Bed, Bath + Beyond to buy all the baffling they could find, an “instant session” was born in an empty room backstage. “It was so spontaneous and creative!” Fairchild continues. “We carry a recording rig with us, and set it up. The drums, bass, and guitars sounded amazing. That ‘in the moment’ feeling is all over the track.”

In perfect 6/8 time, Little Big Town leaned into hard country with a slinky, celebratory earthiness. The Telecaster stings and the sticks on the rims usher in a triumph from tear-in-my-beer anguish. It juxtaposes the pluck of the teasing nag of the gently undulating “Throw Your Love Away,” which finds the ether-voiced Schlapman sparkling through a catalogue of indelible memories, or the acoustic smolder “Questions,” where the burgundy in Fairchild’s voice illuminates as she sifts through the post-breakup doubts she will never voice.

Obviously, there are layers of Fleetwood Mac’s intoxicating harmonies, the acoustic nature of Laurel Canyon, the sweeping sense of emotion that underlies Joni Mitchell and the great respect and love for the songwriters of Nashville, TN. “I’m a dreamer,” Sweet offers. “This music hopefully honors that as musicians in country music. If people can open their hearts and just connect with music in a way that feeds them, makes them feel what they need or want to, then we got it.”

Westbrook explains, “The atmosphere everyone’s living in right now had our heads in more adult places. You always want to have fun, but we’re adults with families – and needed to say something that mattered.” Still, as Schlapman boils it down, “This was a journey, and still is. Whether you’re going to the mountains, or the beach, even sitting in your living room with a glass of wine, this record is an experience. It will take you through so many places in life, hopefully sink in, and take you where you need to go, or give you what you’re looking to find.” Fairchild adds, “The sequence is deliberate to take you through the romance of Nightfall…the questions we have when we’re alone, the joy and the frolic of love and friendship, and the strength to overcome.”

As fingers find a gut string guitar, then a piano, that tranquility closes Nightfall with the reality tug of “Trouble with Forever.” Four voices caressing the breathlessness of how things start, showering the truth about how love and life fade like a benediction for the best of who we are.

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LITTLE BIG TOWN AND MIRANDA LAMBERT CIRCLE THEIR WAGONS TOGETHER FOR NEW TOUR.

Country music superstars and multi-GRAMMY, CMA and ACM Award-winners Little Big Town and Miranda Lambert join forces to co-headline this spring’s The Bandwagon Tour, a reincarnation of 2018’s co-headlining run of the same name which earned rave reviews from PollstarCMTThe Tennessean and more.

The joint tour produced by Live Nation, featuring The Cadillac Three as support on all dates, visits 15 cities beginning Friday, May 6th in Houston, Texas. Tickets to The Bandwagon Tour’s opening night in Houston go on sale Friday, January 21st at 10am local time, with all other dates of The Bandwagon Tour on sale Friday, January 14th at 10am local time. Tickets are available at LiveNation.com.

Citi is the official card of The Bandwagon Tour. Citi cardmembers will have access to presale tickets beginning the Tuesday ahead of each on sale date at 12pm local time until Thursday at 10pm local time through the Citi Entertainment program. For complete presale details visit www.citientertainment.com.

Both critically acclaimed artists in their own right, together Lambert and Little Big Town tout a combined 43 ACM Awards, 23 CMA Awards and seven GRAMMYs. Lambert’s latest single, “If I Was A Cowboy,” is currently climbing the charts at Country radio while her recent collaborative project, The Marfa Tapes, is nominated for a GRAMMY at the upcoming awards ceremony and was named among 2021’s best by American Songwriter, Billboard, LA Times, Rolling Stone, TIME, Vulture and more. Little Big Town is currently back in the studio and will release their 10th studio album later this year. This record follows the No. 1 Country album Nightfall (released in 2020) which includes singles “Over Drinking,” GRAMMY-nominated “The Daughters” and “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.” It was also nominated for the GRAMMY Award for Best Country Album and received rave reviews from The Wall Street JournalEntertainment Weekly and Paste Magazine, among others. Billboard editors describe the band as reaching “substantive emotional richness that few groups can touch” on the album.

On sale details are listed below.

Dates on Sale Beginning This Friday, Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. Local Time:
Wednesday, April 27 *        Tuscaloosa Amphitheater  |  Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Thursday, April 28 *           FirstBank Amphitheater  |  Franklin, Tenn.
Friday, April 29 *#.             William Green Football Stadium  |  Johnson City, Tenn.
Friday, May 6 +                   Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman  |  Houston, Texas
Saturday, May 7                  Dos Equis Pavilion  |  Dallas, Texas
Sunday, May 8                     Walmart AMP  |  Rogers, Ark.
Thursday, May 12                Credit One Stadium  |  Charleston, S.C.
Friday, May 13                     MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre  |  Tampa, Fla.
Saturday, May 14                 iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre  |  West Palm Beach, Fla.
Friday, May 20                     Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre  |  St. Louis, Mo.
Saturday, May 21                 Ruoff Music Center  |  Noblesville, Ind.
Sunday, May 22                   Riverbend Music Center  |  Cincinnati, Ohio
Thursday, June 2                  Budweiser Stage  |  Toronto, Ont.
Friday, June 3                       DTE Energy Music Theatre  |  Detroit, Mich.
Saturday, June 4                   Blossom Music Center  |  Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio
Thursday, June 9                  Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater  |  Wantagh, N.Y.
Friday, June 10                     PNC Bank Arts Center  |  Holmdel, N.J.
Saturday, June 11                 BB&T Pavilion  |  Camden, N.J.
*   Miranda Lambert & The Cadillac Three only; not part of The Bandwagon Tour
+   on sale Friday, Jan 21. at 10 a.m. local time
#   on sale Friday, Feb. 1 at 10 a.m. local time

About Little Big Town
GRAMMY, ACM, CMA and AMA Award-winning group Little Big Town – consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman and Jimi Westbrook – first entered the music scene over 23 years ago, making them one of the longest running bands in the history of country music with all original members, no breaks and no hiatus. They have released nine studio albums throughout their career, four of which reached No. 1 on the Country Albums chart (The Reason Why, Tornado, The Breaker and Nightfall).

The superstar band has four No. 1 singles (“Pontoon,” “Tornado,” “Better Man,” “Day Drinking”) and are also known for their history-making single, “Girl Crush,” as well as “Boondocks,” “Little White Church,” “The Daughters” and latest single “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.”  To date, “Wine, Beer, Whiskey” has reached global streams of over 280 million, putting Little Big Town’s career lifetime streams at over 3.8 billion.

Little Big Town has earned more than 45 award show nominations and has taken home over 20 awards, including four GRAMMYs, nine CMA Awards, eight ACM Awards, an AMA, a People’s Choice Award and an Emmy Award. The band was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, received a star on the Nashville Walk of Fame in 2017, and in 2018 was featured at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in a yearlong exhibit entitled Little Big Town: The Power of Four.

The band will open for The Eagles this summer in Europe.

For more information, visit www.LittleBigTown.com.

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS 2021

Keith Urban
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

Carrie Underwood
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap

Kimberly from Little Big Town
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

TJ Osborne
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

John Osborne
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.

Tae from Maddie & Tae
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

Jimi from Little Big Town
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.

Lauren Alaina
More rapid than eagles his reindeer they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!

Caylee Hammack
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Dierks Bentley
So up to the house-top the reindeer they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too

Darius Rucker
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.

Jordan Davis
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

Maddie from Maddie & Tae
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

Karen from Little Big Town
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

Jon Pardi
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.

Brandon Lay
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

Phillip from Little Big Town
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

Josh Turner
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.

Luke Bryan
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

Alan Jackson
But I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

 

 

Audio / Twas The Night Before Christmas (produced)

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Audio / Twas The Night Before Christmas (dry, no music bed)

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NEWS AND NOTES: Luke Bryan, Kacey Musgraves, Sam Hunt, Little Big Town, Mickey Guyton, Boy Named Banjo

Luke Bryan shared the news that American Idol‘s historic 20th season will premiere February 27th (2022) on ABC.

 

Sam Hunt and Little Big Town were added to the list of performers at next year’s San Antonio Stock Show And Rodeo taking place February 10th – 26th. They join previously announced artists including Tim McGraw, Mickey Guyton, Brad Paisley, Ludacris, Jimmie Allen and Ryan Bingham, among others.

Mickey Guyton shared some great Christmas ideas from black-owned small businesses on her socials. Check them out.

Check out and get to know new band Boy Named Banjo. Find out how they met and started performing together.

https://twitter.com/BoyNamedBanjo/status/1466074623460605955

 

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