Monday, September 16, 2013

Album Review: Little Big Town - Tornado

Little Big Town is one of those country bands that you can count on for putting out a good album, and Tornado is perfect example of that.

The band that's been around since 98 and Tornado is the band's fifth album. The album doesn't deviate from their signature harmonies, which is one of the reasons, they are such a listenable band across the board.

Some country artists have crossover appeal because their music is so close to pop music, but that's not the case with Little Big Town.

Pavement Ends is a rowdy tune that sets the mood for this upbeat album. The harmonies are perfection.

The first single from Tornado is "Pontoon." This is slow bluesy number let's Karen Fairchild's voice shine. She's the the real twang in the group. This song is has a lazy swagger and is an unlikely ear worm.

Kimberly Schlapman handles the vocals on "Sober." This song is all about the harmonies and the powerful line, "When I die, I don't want to go sober."

"Front Porch Swing" has Phillip Sweet taking the front and center spot. The accapella harmony vocals that open the song show of each members vocals before Phillip takes control.

These four songs give you the opportunity to see the versatility of Little Big Town. Each player brings a unique voice to the band. No one member takes over the lead, but Tornado is really Karen Fairchild's chance to shine in the spotlight. The two breakout singles "Pontoon" and "Tornado" both feature Karen's vocal. Both songs have a darker edge, slow and moody, and both have the ability to take up residence in your head for long periods.

There are a lot of country party songs out there and they drift either to a more Top 40 sound or just veer into the absolute silly. "Red Solo Cup" I'm talking about you. Little Big Town toss a song into the mix with "On Fire Tonight." Now this is a song that makes you want to party, or at least move. It full of energy and is 100% infectious. In other words, this song is fun, plain and simple.

Kimberly Schlapman is back on lead vocals for "Can't Go Back." This song is polished to a shine. Where Karen's vocals are more down home country, Kimberly's vocals are more folksy and refined.

"Self Made" opens with some screaming guitars before Karen's voice rings. This song embodies country rock. She shares vocals with Jimi Westbrook, who just happens to be her husband. Though it is cliche, these two make some kick ass music together.

"Night Owl" is sweet ballad. The perfect lullaby to end the album and it features all four members on vocals. The melody is very old fashioned. Think Lawrence Welk! But not in a bad way.

Tornado should be part of every music lover's collection.

5 out of 5 stars

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