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The Road to Here

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Album Review

Little Big Town has undergone adversity since its self-titled debut album, released by Sony's Monument Records, barely reached the country Top 40 in 2002 behind the chart singles "Don't Waste My Time" and "Everything Changes." For one thing, that sales performance was not enough to keep Monument from dropping the group. Then, group member Kimberly Roads' husband passed away, an event marked by the plaintive ballad "Lost." Two other members were divorced. No wonder, then, that it has taken them more than three years to bounce back with their second album, issued by the Nashville independent label Equity Music Group. Whether it's those troubles or just the passage of time, however, Little Big Town has improved significantly since that debut disc. Before, they seemed more an idea than a band — two male and two female singer/songwriters whose style seemed as much influenced by '70s Southern California soft rock as by any country performers. That influence hasn't changed, really; you can't listen to "Bones," for example, without thinking of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain." But the group's sound has become tighter, more focused, and more distinctive. Maybe it's experience, maybe it's the absence of the powers-that-were at Monument, and maybe it's the presence of co-producer, co-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Wayne Kirkpatrick (the CCM artist who is the co-author of the Grammy-winning Eric Clapton hit "Change the World," among many other songs). Kirkpatrick has taken the group under his wing and overseen a record full of songs arranged to showcase the four lead vocalists in varying solos and harmony parts, backed up by roots-country instrumental tracks dominated by acoustic guitar, mandolin, and Dobro. The initial result was a Top 20 country hit with "Boondocks," which has something of a Montgomery Gentry feel to it. There's more of that sort of thing on the album, particularly in the songs written by the band with Kirkpatrick, but they still have a weakness for stringing clichés together ("This monkey on my back/Has stopped me in my tracks," goes a couplet in "Wounded"). The best songs are actually ones Kirkpatrick wrote with others and brought to the project, particularly "Live with Lonesome" and the novelty "Welcome to the Family." But even when the material is not top-drawer, the performances are, making this the album Little Big Town had in it and didn't manage to get out the first time around.

Customer Reviews

Reformed Country Music fan at 57

I was never a fan of country music. Sure I'd like a song here or there but I was new age, folk, Jimmy Buffet and Jim Morris (not Morrison). I spent 3 weeks working on a consulting assignment in Austin it's at least 90% of what I listen to; the only station my car radio is set to. This is the first album I've ever purchased based on one song, Boondocks, and ended up loving every song on the album.

Best Little Big Town CD

From top to bottom, there are no others that can touch this one. They are the most underrated country artists/groups today and the harmonies are well worth the price anyways. Boondocks is one of the best 21st century country songs. There aren't just upbeat songs on here, they slow things down with Bring It On Home and Lost that are just as moving. Do yourself a favor and buy one of the best country CDs that I own. It is up there with Garth at his height.

Love this album!

One of Little Big Town's best albums from beginning to end. Their harmonies are fantastic.


Formed: 1998 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Country vocal quartet Little Big Town began with Kimberly Roads and Karen Fairchild, two Georgia natives who began singing together in college. Arkansas-born and Alabama-raised Jimi Westbrook, a friend of Fairchild's husband, joined them to make a trio, and the group was completed by the addition of Arkansan Phil Sweet in 1998. From the outset, Little Big Town devoted their sound to harmony and multiple lead vocals, a combination that made the band a hard sell at first. They finally landed a deal...
Full Bio
The Road to Here, Little Big Town
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Customer Ratings