Little Big Town photo by Kristin Barlowe, courtesy of the CMA.
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2013 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
CMA’s reigning Vocal Group of the Year, Little Big Town, had settled into director’s chairs on the fourth floor of the Bridge Building. Although it hadn’t yet been announced on this day in early May, they were confirmed to host the three-hour special, “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock,” airing 8-11 PM ET/7-10 PM CT, Aug. 12 over the ABC Television Network. They’re no strangers to performing at Music Fest, but this year would spotlight – and challenge – them as never before.
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Yet there were no signs of nervousness as cameras began to roll. Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook took to the subject at hand as the world has come to know them — with confidence, a feeling of unity tempered by their strong individual personalities, and with a sense of humor that could tickle any or all of them without warning into a few seconds of laughter.
How did you hear that you were being invited to host this year’s Festival special on ABC?
FAIRCHILD: I really don’t know how we got it, but we sure are glad we did (laughter). When we found out, we were just thrilled. Do you know how many CMA Fests this is for us?
SCHLAPMAN: The first one was 1999.
FAIRCHILD: That was at the (Tennessee State) Fairgrounds. We got to play two songs in front of Wynonna.
SCHLAPMAN: We had just gotten a record deal in May, and this was in June. So it was huge for us! It was one of the biggest things we’d ever done — well, obviously, we’d only had two months as a band (laughter). I just remember thinking, “Wow, we just know two songs!” Continue Reading