How a Song About a Slow Boat Became One of Country's Hottest Songs
"Who would have thought a song about motor boating at this point in our career would cause such a ruckus?" Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild said backstage after a recent performance in New York.
Hailed by many as the "song of the summer," just last week "Pontoon" jumped from No. 13 to No. 9 on the Hot Country Songs Chart, making it their first Top 10 since "Little White Church" in 2010. The quartet expressed their excitement to Billboard upon learning of their latest Top 10 single.
"We knew it was special when we cut it," Kimberly Schlapman said. "The timing of it has been so great. We're on the road with Rascal Flatts so everybody's really beginning to hear it now because it's getting played more and more. Every show is more fun because of it."
Bandmate Phillip Sweet agreed.
"I think the more people hear it, the more momentum it grows and builds," Sweet said. "It's one of those things you can't write it out and say, 'This is going to be a big ol' smash.' You just hope and we do our best at making a fun record that we are moved by and enjoy."
Little Big Town shared their appreciation to the fans for initially showing an interest in the song.
"People want to have fun," Fairchild said. "That's the main thing: people want to have a good time. So if you're making a playlist and you're going out to the lake for the weekend or the beach, I think it just fits people's lives right now."
The band admits they initially gravitated to the song that Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird and Barry Dean wrote but never dreamed of its steady rise up the charts.
"Natalie sang the demo and we thought, 'Man, that's a song that you've never heard.' First of all, who's ever written a song about a pontoon? Never heard that. But having a chick sing it? I don't know," Fairchild confessed. "There's something weird about the delivery when we heard Natalie sing it. And so we thought, 'This song is cool. It sounds like something country fans will really love if they could get a chance to hear it.'"
A song they could relate to themselves having spent many hot summer days on pontoons, Little Big Town's busy schedule keeps them off the water and on the road. In fact, the last time they were on a pontoon was at the CMT Awards in June.
"CMT let us have that pontoon and we couldn't fit it into the storage space that we keep so we had to cut it into four pieces," Fairchild confessed.
The group planned a trip to the lake on their day off in Detroit to rent pontoons but time slipped away from them.