Little Big Town’s Landmark Carnegie Hall Concert Will Bring ‘Theatrical, Cinematic’ Influences
"Carnegie Hall, man! Wow!" band member Phillip Sweet gushes to The Boot. "What a thing for us. They say you work your whole career to play Carnegie Hall, and I believe it's true. It's one of those things that you dream of as a kid, growing up playing music, to play Carnegie Hall."
Best known as a Mecca for exceptional musicians of all genres -- especially classical -- the storied New York City hall hasn't hosted a mainstream country artist since Alan Jackson performed there in 2013. "So yeah, it's not a typical country venue," Sweet concedes, explaining that, for Little Big Town, that was part of the appeal, since the group constantly looks for ways to stretch their style and find a universal sound.
"I feel like we're one of those bands that, kind of, we do blur those lines in a way," he adds. "A lot of people, we've been told, say, 'If you're not a fan of country, check out Little Big Town, and they'll guide and lead you into country music.'"
Their Nightfall Tour kickoff show at Carnegie is just the beginning of a nationwide theater trek that will see Little Big Town framing their new album's songs in a new light, informed by broader influences than those of a typical mainstream country show.
"I think the inspiration was the residency we did at the Ryman Auditorium [in 2017]. That was such a beautiful experience, and the presentation of a show in that kind of venue was beautiful," Sweet explains. "It felt like something we would remember for a long time ...
"I think presenting the album in this manner -- we have strings on a couple of the songs, making it a bit more theatrical and cinematic in a way -- Carnegie Hall just felt like a great place to represent this album, and to showcase it," he continues.
After their Carnegie show, Little Big Town will bring those inspirations out on the rest of the Nightfall Tour. "We're playing all these iconic theaters, so we're bringing that production and that style to a bunch of different places," Sweet adds.
Of course, that doesn't mean Little Big Town are stepping away from the country genre. After all, their inspiration for the tour comes from a show they played at the Mother Church of Country Music.
"We wanna honor the heritage and the classic-ness of acoustic instruments and harmonies, and the origins of what we all love as a genre," Sweet relates, "and, at the same time, be current and modern and relevant. And that's what I feel like we love: to be that band that can do both and cover the spectrum. So to be at Carnegie Hall, it's gonna have notes of country, it's gonna have notes of classical, it's gonna have notes of relevancy and [modernity], so that's why I feel like it's a perfect place to showcase this album."
Little Big Town's Carnegie Hall date is set for Thursday (Jan. 16), just one day before the release of their new album. The group's ensuing theater tour will run through May.
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