What a way to wake up. Little Big Town co-lead singer Karen Fairchild was lying in bed with her five-year-old son and husband/bandmate Jimi Westbrook Monday morning when the texts started rolling in, congratulating them on Grammy nominations. “That’s a good way to wake up,” Fairchild says.
Little Big Town received nods for “Girl Crush,” their brilliant, jealousy-themed ballad, in the Song of the Year, Best Country Group/Duo Performance, and Best Country Song categories. The Recording Academy also tipped its hat to the group’s recent album, Pain Killer, which received a nom for Country Album of the Year.
Written by Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, and Liz Rose, the song stirred up controversy earlier this spring. Radio stations in Texas and Idaho began pulling the song after hearing one of Fairchild’s lines: “I want to taste her lips/ Yeah, ’cause they taste like you.” But instead of squashing the track, the controversy caused the song to shoot up in the charts, iTunes, and radio airplay elsewhere.
“I’m just glad to know that our fans and peers feel the same way that we did when we first heard the song,” Fairchild says of the song’s delayed take-off. “It was so honest and so beautifully written. It kind of stops you in your tracks—you’re like, ‘God, I’ve never heard that before,’ but it’s a thing we’ve all thought about when we’ve been rejected; looking and wondering what the other person has and what we’re missing.”
She continues, “I feel the same way every night when I sing it. It’s become an anthem at the end of our show—the crowd sings it louder than we do. To know that it’s carried itself all the way to the Grammys and earned these huge, all-genre nominations is just thrilling.”
But that wasn’t the only challenge facing the foursome this year. Westbrook was forced to undergo vocal chord surgery this fall and the group had to cancel tour dates. Even that has turned itself into a positive. “He’s got range that he hasn’t had in probably 15 years,” Fairchild says of her husband’s recovery. “He’s got all this falsetto—it’s like you go back to your childhood days with fresh chords.”
Fans can expect to hear the difference on the group’s next album, which they’ve already begun writing. “We’re writing some things that I think showcase it. I mean, why not? We always want to do things we’ve never done before.” In particular, “We want it to sound like what we do live.”
In case you need a reminder of Little Big Town’s live show, check our their iHeart Radio performance of their hit tune.