Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet have been together since 1998, navigating the highs and lows of trying to make it in the country music industry.
Although it was a long journey to become the Country Music Hall of Famers, Grand Ole Opry members and Grammy winners that they are today, they made it, amassing a discography of six records and several hit songs along the way. The group is unpredictable in their song choices, which can be easy-breezy fun or deeply moving with raw honesty -- but that's part of LBT's draw: They can pull off every type of tune with such ease, making them one of the top country groups today.
"Can't Go Back" From: 'Tornado' (2012)
"Can't Go Back" is from Little Big Town's 2012 album Tornado, and it's a simple song with a surprisingly emotional impact. The four-part harmonies blend in a rather heavenly way, but the lyrics pack a deep punch: "Some things you can't go back to / Some things we left alone / Don't mess with the memories of a life passed on," the group sings.
"From the first time we heard it, there is something I feel like with that song that there’s a spiritual something in that lyric and in that melody that moves you on a soul level," Westbrook reflects.
"Bring It on Home" From: 'The Road to Here' (2005)
If you've had a long, stressful, tension-filled day at work, this is the song to curl up to with a glass of red wine or a tumbler of whiskey. Little Big Town released "Bring It on Home" in January of 2006, as the second single from The Road to Here, and it became their highest-charting single until "Pontoon." There's no doubt it resonated with fans because of the soothing, tender, utterly loving way the male narrator (a part sung by Sweet) takes care of his love at the end of a hard day: "When your long day is over / And you can barely drag your feet / The weight of the world is on your shoulders / I know what you need / Bring it on home to me." The accompanying video hit No. 1 for two consecutive weeks on CMT's Top 20 Countdown -- and left everyone pining for the kind of love that is deep and unconditional.
"Life in a Northern Town" (with Sugarland and Jake Owen)From: 'A Place to Land' (re-release) (2008)
With a combination of LBT, Sugarland and Jake Owen, you pretty much can't go wrong. The group of stars covered this song, which came to popularity in 1985 as sung by the English pop group Dream Academy, and when LBT and friends unveiled their collaboration, it gained popularity all on its own, especially when fans saw it at Sugarland’s 2007 Change for Change Tour, which all three artists were a part of and which CMT made into a music video. The performance was included on LBT’s re-release of A Place to Land and garnered a Grammy nod for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, along with CMA and ACM honors.
"Little White Church"From: 'The Reason Why' (2010)
This song gave LBT a Top 10 hit in 2010 -- their first since "Bring It on Home" in 2006. The lead single from their album The Reason Why, "Little White Church" is infectious to the core, with clever lyrics that warn a woman's lover to put a ring on her finger ... or else. One of the most fun parts of the song is the bridge, which emphatically states, "No more calling me baby / No more loving like crazy / No more chicken and gravy / I ain't gonna have your baby." Can't get much more clear than that -- better get down on one knee and head to that little white church!
"Boondocks"From: 'The Road to Here' (2005)
LBT's song "Boondocks" put them on the charts. Westbrook led the vocals on this hit, which pays tribute to growing up in the boondocks with no shame and a whole lot of pride: "And I can feel that muddy water running through my veins / And I can hear that lullaby of a midnight train / It sings to me, and it sounds familiar." Released in May of 2005 as their first single from The Road Here, "Boondocks" was Little Big Town's very first Top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs charts.
"Pontoon"From: 'Tornado' (2012)
No one forgets their first No. 1 hit, and for LBT, that was "Pontoon." It was a winning song as well, nabbing them a Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance in 2013. The playful song was the first single off the group's 2012 Tornado record, and it came about in a rather hilarious way: Luke Laird, who co-wrote it with Natalie Hemby and Barry Dean, says that a publisher asked about a song he and Hemby wrote for Miranda Lambert called "Fine Tune," but the publisher thought that it was called "Pontoon." That ignited the idea for the lake-loving, party-throwing, summer-friendly hit.
"Day Drinking"From: 'Pain Killer' (2014)
"Day Drinking" was the first single off of LBT's sixth studio album -- and boy did it deliver. The song pays homage to letting go and doing something spontaneous -- like a little day drinking. It's the perfect summertime anthem for cranking up, opening the sunroof and getting the weekend started a little early. It's certainly not a deep song, but LBT have plenty of those in their repertoire, and its happy-go-lucky feel (plus a bit of whistling!) will bring sunshine into any day. Heck, it may even inspire you to play hooky, grab some friends and head to the beach with a cooler (or two).
"Girl Crush"From: 'Pain Killer' (2014)
"Girl Crush" has definitely generated more publicity than any other LBT song, particularly because of the misunderstood lyrics and title. Some listeners (incorrectly) believe that the song is about lesbian lovers, which turned into an even deeper and more complicated discussion about equality and acceptance, but as it turns out, "Girl Crush" doesn't have a political agenda: It's a break-up song between a heterosexual couple. Still, even if this tune hadn't garnered all of the attention it did -- including from LBT's country peers -- it would have made this list because it's a really good song, with top-notch lyrics, vocals and melody. We have a big crush on "Girl Crush."
"Your Side of the Bed"From: 'Tornado' (2012)
"Your Side of the Bed" received a well-deserved Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The angst-driven song slices through the heart with a razor-sharp knife of honesty and frankness, and many people can relate to this song about a married couple whose marriage has become jaded and full of discontent. They're sleeping in a bed with miles between them, physically and emotionally, and the lyrics boldly ask, "Tell me how, how'd you get so far away? / All we have left are the memories of the love we made / Are you sleeping with your own regret? / On your side of the bed." The accompanying music video gives a visual to the growing distance between the couple and is one of the quartet's most emotionally riveting performances. And their 2013 ACM Awards performance? Out of this world.
"Tornado"From: 'Tornado' (2012)
The title track of LBT's fifth studio album, "Tornado" was released in October of 2012, featuring lead vocals from Fairchild, and it ignited a huge amount of support from the ladies. The song uses a tornado as a metaphor for a woman's anger when she finds out that her lover was unfaithful.
"I see several women in the audience out there stomping their feet and putting their fists in the air," Sweet says of performing the song live. "It’s like their power anthem.”
The brooding and bold track is one of Little Big Town's best and gained the quartet an immense amount of followers due to its uncompromising -- and utterly irresistible -- feel.