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Little Big Town Members Enjoy Sharing the Lead Vocal Load

Little Big Town has never hidden the fact that they had their share of struggles the first few years after the band formed. The quartet, comprised of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Philip Sweet, released their self-titled debut album in 2002, and went through two record labels and three more albums without ever landing a No. 1 song. And although record company executives tried to make the group fit a formula of one lead singer, the foursome stuck to their belief that they could find success by all sharing the duties — and their tenacity paid off.

“We were the only game in town with both girls and guys and we didn’t want to pick one singer,” Karen tells Billboard magazine. “Because it worked for the Beatles and it worked for Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles, so why couldn’t it work in country music? We just stuck to our guns on that and eventually it worked, it just took a while.”

The group recently celebrated their latest album, Tornado, reaching No. 1 (where it remains for a fourth week in a row), and also scored their first chart-topping single with “Pontoon.” Listening back to their first album, they can’t help but feel they’ve evolved.

“I hear elements of us in there,” says Karen. “But I think we were still trying to figure out who we are and how to capture what we do live in a show. We really hadn’t been together that long. I think it was a case of almost getting there, but not quite getting to the sound that everybody knows now.”

The quartet also recently nabbed three CMA award nominations, including one for Vocal Group of the Year. They readily give credit to their loyal fans for a measure of their success. “I think they revel in it, because they’ve been a part of it,” Karen explains. “The ones that have been with us since the beginning — who bought that very first record — and there were only a handful who did, they’ve watched us grow and their faces just light up. It’s fun. We’re doing it all together.”

Little Big Town, who recently released the second single from their album, the Tornado title track, will also perform for the 46th Annual CMA Awards, which will air Thursday, Nov. 1 at 8:00 PM ET on ABC. The band will wrap up their role as opening act on Rascal Flatts Changed tour on Oct. 27 in West Palm Beach, Fla. Keep track of their remaining show dates here.

Read our exclusive interview with the group here.

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