Little Big Town is hardly radical in the context of pop music, and while it’s often compared to Fleetwood Mac, its four members agreeably sharing two tour buses -- as they do now, with spouses and preadolescent kids in tow -- is a far cry from the cocaine-dusted, partner-trading ’70s exploits of John, Stevie, Lindsey, Mick and Christine. Lindsey Buckingham even told them that they were wise to limit the romantic pairings in the group to the one between Westbrook and Fairchild. (The two have a son. Schlapman is married with two daughters, and Sweet, 43, has a daughter with his wife.)
But in Music City, LBT is unique: It’s a coed vocal group that’s progressive but not polarizing and as steeped in soft-rock smoothness as it is in country’s core values of rootedness and authenticity. “They don’t sound like anybody else,” says Vince Gill, who asked them to sing harmony on his 2016 album Down to My Last Bad Habit. “In the history of country music, there’s nobody like them.” At this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards, LBT won vocal group of the year -- its fourth win in the category.
The act is also open to -- and adept at -- reaching across musical aisles. It has performed with Ariana Grande; covered Alicia Keys, Oasis and Katy Perry; and in major TV appearances been called upon to honor both David Bowie and (at the 2017 Grammys, where it appeared twice) the Bee Gees. In 2016, LBT released a surprise album, Wanderlust, produced by hip-hop wizard Pharrell Williams, and while on tour, played Beyoncé’s Lemonade on repeat. When Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks stole the show at last November’s Country Music Association Awards, the whole band was thrilled. Sweet, who says he found the backlash to the genre-bridging performance “bizarre,” remembers thinking, “‘Man, country is legit right now.’”