Little Big Town returned to the famed Ryman Auditorium for back-to-back sold-out performances on Friday and Saturday evening as part of their unprecedented year-long artist residency, “Little Big Town at the Mother Church.” The critically-acclaimed entertainers once again brought their pitch-perfect vocal stylings to the Mother Church with a set list that included songs from their recently released #1 Billboard Country, Top 10 Billboard 200 studio album, The Breaker (Capitol Records Nashville) and their impressive catalogue of hits. Opening acts included Monument Recording artist Caitlyn Smith (5/19) and The Brummies (5/20).
Now a hallmark of their time at the Ryman, each evening featured surprise special guests, with Tori Kelly and Alison Krauss joining the reigning ACM and CMA Vocal Group of The Year on stage Friday evening for several show-stopping moments. On Saturday, country superstars Luke Bryan and Lee Ann Womack also took to the stage, each earning a standing ovation. In one of the most personal moments of the night, band members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook surprised their children by bringing them out on stage to perform a song for the crowd. Additional show highlights included a performance of the multi-week, #1 hit “Better Man,” and Little Big Town’s current single at country radio, “Happy People,” which recently sparked an online movement with the song’s heartfelt music video.
The night also included a preview of the band’s upcoming wine, “4” which was first announced earlier this year on CBS This Morning and will be available for consumers starting in June.
“Little Big Town at the Mother Church” is the only year-long artist residency in the 125 year old history of the Ryman. In a recent sit down with Sunday Today, Little Big Town recently sat down to speak with Willie Geist about what it means to them to be at the Ryman Auditorium and the band’s bond as a family.
Little Big Town will perform next on NBC’s “The Voice” Finale, airing TONIGHT.
Before the show even started last night, Kenny Chesney picked up two of the three Billboard Music Awards he’s nominated for: Top Country Tour and Top Country Collaboration “Setting The World On Fire,” the multiple week No. 1 duet with P!nk. And with Top Country Song still unannounced, the songwriter/superstar from East Tennessee could go three-for-three.
“Winning Best Country Tour makes me happy for my entire road family, from the band, the riggers, the caterers, the people selling the tickets and t-shirts, and for everyone who’s worked one of our shows last year who made their town feel like another hometown,” Chesney responded to the news he’d bested Luke Bryan and the Dixie Chicks for the award. “Obviously, we take our show really seriously. People give us a piece of their summer, and we want to make sure it’s something worth hanging onto. And whether it’s one of those 18, 19 stadiums, the beach on the Florida/Alabama line or Sloppy Joe’s, this award is for everyone who touched one of our shows!”
Somewhere in the sun, the 8-time Entertainer of the Year whose been hailed as “The People’s Superstar” has spent this year writing songs, doing some recording, playing a handful of shows, including a pair of concerts at Boston’s Gillette Stadium, and gearing up for a big 2018. But in the process, his eyes have never strayed far from music.
With Cosmic Hallelujah earning accolades from NPR, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, and PEOPLE, Newsday called it, “country perfection,” The Boston Globe deemed it “a love song to another person and to the idea of getting away…working from a larger sonic palette, one that incorporates ideas from stadium-rockers with whom he shares dressing rooms and the rollicking Nashville bars that still loom large in country’s imagination” and The Washington Post concurred, “the album that emerged is rich and varied, looking outward and also holed up at a bar.”
As for the GRAMMY-nominated “Setting The World On Fire,” Chesney is still thrilled about the response to P!nk’s first country chart-topper. “Timing didn’t work out to sing this song together, but that performance has so much heart, so much soul, I love that people have responded to P!nk in our format the way they have. She is a singer like no other, and when she comes in, that is what the essence of falling in love feels like.”
Headlining Myrtle Beach’s Carolina Country Music Fest on June 10 and Columbus, Ohio’s Buckeye Country Superfest June 11, Chesney will disappear until late this summer. But he’s leaving plenty of music in his wake: the SiriusXM world premiered video for the Cosmic Hallelujah album track “Rich and Miserable,” as well as the Top 10 “Bar at the End of the World.”
“It’s all about the music,” he said. “Give people songs they can put their lives in, then live those lives right along with them. It’s simple. But it’s what I do. Thanks Billboard for recognizing that, and these two awards!”