Little Big Town to reveal new album on historic theater tour

CMA Awards

FILE – This May 4, 2019 file photo shows Phillip Sweet, from left, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook, of Little Big Town, at the iHeartCountry Festival in Austin, Texas. The Grammy winners will reveal their self-produced album “Nightfall” at Carnegie Hall on January 16, the night before it is released. (Photo by Jack Plunkett/Invision/AP, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country group Little Big Town always wanted to play Carnegie Hall, but it took more than just practice, like the old joke goes, to get them there.

The Grammy winners have been in the studio for over a year working on their self-produced ninth studio album “Nightfall,” and they’ll perform it in full at the famed theater on Jan. 16, the night before it is released.

“The record feels kind of cinematic to me, but there’s also a lot of beautiful intimate moments,” singer Karen Fairchild told The Associated Press. “In a theater, this record is really going to shine.”

The Carnegie Hall appearance kicks off a tour of iconic and historic theaters across the country in 2020 including the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Taft Theatre in Cincinnati, the Chicago Theatre, the Paramount Theatre in Seattle and many more. The tour, with opening act Caitlyn Smith, runs through May 2.

Fairchild, her husband Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet turned inward for the new record, choosing to self-produce after working with hit producer Jay Joyce for several years. That changed up the normal schedule of recording for them.

“We just couldn’t stop recording, which in the end makes it a whole lot more difficult,” said Westbrook.

They’ve released just two songs from the new record so far, including the smart and timely song , “The Daughters,” about the way women are treated unequally in society. Fairchild said they never expected the song to be embraced by radio, but they spent a lot of time this year talking about its importance and playing it at awards shows.

“If you’re listening to country radio, you’re not hearing that kind of lyric,” Fairchild said. “We feel like we need to do the risky thing because sometimes we just feel like we should.”

But their new single, “Over Drinking,” almost didn’t make the album because by the time they heard it, they had already completed the album.

A short video clip of the song was sent to them by one of the writers, Jesse Frasure, only a few weeks ago and they started frantically texting him back. “I was dying to hear the whole song,” Fairchild said.

But the problem was they had no studio time booked to record it. So the band recorded pieces of the bluesy country send-off song while they were out on the road. They taped up foam insulation inside their dressing rooms to record the guitar and drums. Finally they got in a studio to record their signature harmonies and finished in just a couple of days.

“I think it’s the fastest we’ve ever heard a song, turned around and cut it,” said Fairchild.

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