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Little Big Town has changed. And it shows in their new album, “Tornado.”
The country crooners, Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet and Kimberly Schlapman, are famous for perfectly pitched four-part harmonies, often taking turns singing lead vocals. Their new album reflects the bluegrass roots of their past work and brings in a darker, more emotional sound. “Tornado”’s goose bump-inducing harmonies, sweet southern honesty and hard-hitting lyrics meld together in a sweet promise that has every country music die-hard hitting repeat.
The album’s single, “Pontoon,” is the band’s first No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs Chart. The song’s one-of-a kind mandolin melody and laidback twang have everyone picturing him- or herself enjoying a summer day floating on the lake. It gave listeners a taste of something new and a quench only the album could fill.
“Your Side of the Bed” showcases the band’s new sound. The emotional ballad’s chilling harmony and wistful lyrics: “Tell me how, how’d you get so far away. All we have left are the memories of the love we made,” make it anything but the typical love-gone-wrong song. The lyrics’ haunting regret sticks with you long after the song fades away. The title track “Tornado” is a mellow equivalent to Carrie Underwood’s chart topper “Blown Away.” Threatening lyrics: “I’m a tornado, looking for a man to break,” cymbals like a whip slashing through the air, and Fairchild’s fierce voice would send any man packing.
The eclectic mix of deep emotion and playfulness in “Tornado” make it Little Big Town’s best work yet — an album not to be missed. They’ve proven that change is good.