Though Little Big Town is still in the early stages of their ninth studio album, one element that’s become clear early on in the process is the sense of positivity shining through in the songs they’re writing. Pairing up with creators in the hierarchy of the Nashville industry like Shane McAnally, Jesse Frasure and busbee, the chart-topping quartet of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet are stretching the boundaries of what defines their sound.
“I feel like there’s a lot of happiness in these songs. It’s very reflective of where we are in our lives personally. I think we’re all in really happy places and enjoying that and really relishing in that,” details Sweet. “The songs are reflecting that.”
Since its inception in 1998, the foursome with the dazzling harmonies have experienced many life events together, along with the ebbs and flows of the music industry. Side by side, they’ve penned several signature hits, “Boondocks,” “Little White Church” and “Day Drinking” among them, with each track standing out from one another while still embodying the spirit that’s made them superstars in the genre. Through these experiences, they’ve gained new insight from each other that’s enabled them to grow as songwriters. “I feel like every process we continue to evolve and we’re becoming better listeners to each other to hear and let ideas come through. That’s really important,” Sweet assures.
Their free-spirit is evidenced in the 70s-style “Summer Fever,” a song they were “at peace” with, as Sweet describes, releasing in between projects, not knowing the exact direction of where they want to take their next collection of songs. “Summer Fever,” co-written by Fairchild, Frasure, Cary Barlowe and Sam Romans and produced by McAnally, is evidence of the group’s desire to expand their creative horizons and experiment with sounds that blend genre lines. “It’s a true reflection of where our music is growing and going into,” Sweet says of the Bee Gees-influenced summer track. “There’s so many sounds that are crossing genres right now. It’s exciting.”
As they begin to piece together a new body of work, the group is conscientious in not putting themselves in any boxes and allowing themselves creative freedom to collaborate with people that will challenge them artistically. “I love that we have all these creatives in our life that we can have that chance to do that. You have to keep yourself open to anything I think,” Fairchild says of exploring new opportunities. “I’ve put myself out there more than I ever have and writing with some new people. It’s been fun and super creative, trying some new things. That’s where you want to be,” expresses Westbrook. “We’re feeling great about what we’re writing. We’re not forcing anything.”
The “Girl Crush” singers have been out on the road with Miranda Lambert on the summertime Bandwagon Tour, whick kicked off on July 12 in Charlotte, N.C. and wraps up Aug. 25 in Chicago. They’ll be joined by glowing Americana and country stars the Turnpike Troubadours, Tenille Townes, Natalie Hemby and The Steel Woods. “Summer Fever” is available now.