country vocal quartet Little Big Town began with Kimberly Roads and Karen
Fairchild, who began singing together at
University in Birmingham, Ala. Fairchild moved to Nashville in 1994 to work
for a booking agent on Music Row. Roads moved a year later. After they
reunited, they invited Jimi Westbrook (a friend of Fairchild's) to sing with
them and accompany them on guitar. He moved to Nashville in 1998. Through
one of Fairchild's co-writers, they met another singer-guitarist, Phillip
Sweet, who solidified the quartet in 1998.
quartet found a supporter in the CAA booking agency, which helped them
secure a contract with Mercury Records. They made their public debut on the
Grand Ole Opry in 1999. However, the Mercury deal fell apart although they
had landed publishing deals to sustain them. In time, they signed to Sony's
Monument Records, but the label dropped them after the release of the
group's 2002 album.
personal lives, Westbrook's father died. Sweet and Fairchild both divorced,
and Roads' husband Steven died unexpectedly of a heart attack. (A lawyer, he
had assisted with many of the quartet's legal contracts.) The group did not
disband, but Westbrook, Sweet and Fairchild all returned to day jobs.
songwriter Wayne Kirkpatrick offered to pay for a new recording. They
agreed. Top musicians such as Gordon Kennedy (guitar), Jimmy Lee Sloas
(bass), Mountain Heart's Adam Steffey (mandolin), Union Station's Jerry
Douglas (Dobro) and Ron Block (banjo) pitched in. Equity Records (co-owned
by Clint Black) is scheduled to release their second album in October 2005.
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