Little Big Town

Karen FairchildVocals1998-
Kimberly SchlapmanVocals1998-
Jimi WestbrookVocals, rhythm guitar1998-
Phillip SweetVocals, rhythm guitar1998-
  • In the late-'90s, Little Big Town was still a little country band looking for their big break. They thought they found it with Mercury Records, but the label failed to produce any singles or albums for them. When they eventually signed with Sony's Monument label, they were caught in a hailstorm of criticism for a manufactured image that didn't really reflect who they were. That struggle to establish an identity lead the harmonizing team to write "Boondocks." Phillip Sweet explained in a Songfacts interview:

    '"Boondocks' was inspired by us just wanting to speak about who we are and what we're about. Because there seemed to be a little bit of confusion there at Sony when we were signed there that we were a put-together band, or we weren't country, we're too slick. And nowadays you wouldn't even get those kind of questions, but at that time it just seemed really strange. And I don't think radio really understood who we were yet. So we just wanted to write this, and it was therapy for us and it was a chance for us to really make a statement about our roots. And that's really what it was."
  • After the nightmarish experience with Sony, the band members halfheartedly went back to their day jobs while playing occasional gigs. Sweet remembers working a handful of odd jobs, including telemarketing and clerking at a liquor store. He was even hired to give away free lessons for a dance studio. Westbrook worked as a valet, often pulling his hat down so he wouldn't be recognized by friends when he parked their cars at music industry events.
  • Kimberly Schlapman lost her first husband, Steven Roads (who was also the group's lawyer), to a heart attack in 2005. The experience inspired the song "You Can't Have Everything" from their 2010 album, The Reason Why. She married Stephen Schlapman in 2006.
  • Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook surprised fans by announcing their marriage in July 2006, two months after they tied the knot.
  • The group won their first Grammy Award in 2013 - Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Pontoon."
  • Before joining Little Big Town, Fairchild sang with the Christian vocal group Truth and in the duo KarenLeigh with Point of Grace's Leigh Cappillino.
  • Schlapman and Fairchild were already old friends before they started the group. They met in 1987 at Samford University in Alabama.
  • Little Big Town's debut gig was at the Grand Ole Opry in 1999. "Our very first public performance was at the Opry," Jimi Westbrook told NPR. "We only had one guitar at that time. So it was one guitar and four voices."
  • Jimi Westbrook won an Arkansas modeling competition when he was 18 years old. "I'm from a small town," he modestly explained to Jimmy Fallon.
  • Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Roads Schlapman and Phillip Sweet named themselves after a Nashville music publisher called Little Big Town Music Group. Westbrook said it perfectly conveyed "a small-town feel with a big musical sound."
  • Kimberly Schlapman can count to 10 in Korean. She learned how to do it through her husband and older daughter, who both enjoy karate.
Please sign in or register to post comments.


Be the first to comment...

Mick Jones of ForeignerSongwriter Interviews

Foreigner's songwriter/guitarist tells the stories behind the songs "Juke Box Hero," "I Want To Know What Love Is," and many more.

John Doe of XSongwriter Interviews

With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.

KissFact or Fiction

Kiss is the subject of many outlandish rumors - some of which happen to be true. See if you can spot the fakes.

The Real Nick DrakeSong Writing

The head of Drake's estate shares his insights on the late folk singer's life and music.

DevoSongwriter Interviews

Devo founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale take us into their world of subversive performance art. They may be right about the De-Evoloution thing.

Curt Kirkwood of Meat PuppetsSongwriter Interviews

The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged.