Little Big Town's 'Tornado' stirs up a fan-centric tour

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

Sure, plenty of musicians, actors and other high-profile artists adopt public personas, but anyone who knows the members of Little Big Town understands they are each as genuine as them seem.

So it was heartening to hear the responses of the members -- known individually as Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet and Kimberly Schlapman -- when they received their first Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for their No. 1 hit song "Pontoon," from their latest album, "Tornado."

"#14yearsinthemaking," Schlapman tweeted soon after the group won for the title track of its latest album. "Oh my stars!!"

The group is currently on a tour described as a thank you to the fans that kept its latest album at the top spot on Billboard's country music chart for five weeks.

Onstage
Little Big Town
Where: 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Info: Sold out at press time, but tickets might be available through resellers; 877-435-9849; 930.com

Although the group members introduced some of the live versions of the songs when they toured with Rascal Flatts, this is their first chance to play as many of the songs from the album as they select.

"It's not a great economic time in our country, and people, when they fork out money for a record, that's really special," Schlapman said. "So, the fact that a lot of people have done that, we're really appreciative and we are going to put our hearts and souls into this tour, and it's gonna be fun."

Country newcomer Kacey Musgraves is also on the "Tornado" tour, and it turns out she's just as big a fan of Little Big Town as the people in the audience. She told ABC News Radio, "They are the sweetest people in the industry that I've probably ever met. They are more deserving and hardworking than most people ever will be."

Little Big Town's latest hits "Pontoon" and "Tornado" feature a funkier sound than most other songs on country radio these days, and Musgraves thinks her straightforward songs like "Merry Go Round" will fit in nicely with Little Big Town's catalog.

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Nancy Dunham

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner