Little Big Town stuck together through the good times and bad for nearly 14 years before the traditional-leaning group had a major industry breakthrough. With the release of their summertime anthem "Pontoon," the harmonious five-some began the final ascent into superstardom, bolstered by their critically acclaimed "Tornado" set.
During this week's Country Radio Seminar (CRS), bandmates Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet sat down for a panel to talk about their long struggle to the top. "[There were decisions] we felt we had to do," shared Westbrook during the Wednesday (Feb. 19) panel, moderated Bob Kingsley. "Those were the times, I think, this band began to trust their gut and their instincts on the inside.
He added, "Even on the outside, they didn't look like the best decision to make...but we just felt it."
"We were still trying to figure out who we were as a band," Fairchild said, "and we didn't quite get there. It really got crucified in the press."
"We were kind of damaged goods around town. There were billboards everywhere, and even the photos weren't reflective of who we really are," she continued. "It's hard to fight those battles in the moment, creatively, when you're a new artist."
"You're looking at this big world in front of you, and you're wondering if your gut is right," she noted, citing friendships they've made along the way that have inspired their drive. "If it doesn't feel like you, you shouldn't be doing it."
ACM and CMA Vocal Group of the Year winners Little Big Town are currently working on their "Tornado" followup, expected sometime later this year.
Check out the group's full CRS panel, including the story of being dropped by their label, above.