Country music will be taking over ABC on Tuesday with the premiere of CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night To Rock, a three-hour special documenting the 2014 CMA Music Festival in June. Little Big Town, the CMA vocal group of the year, were tapped for hosting duties for the second consecutive year in a row. And even though playing music is more their wheelhouse than hosting, they're getting the hang of it.
“The hardest thing to me was interviewing other people because to do that on camera and be natural at the same time was tough," Little Big Town singer/guitarist Jimi Westbrook tells Billboard. "We’re used to seeing our friends, and hanging out talking. That’s what you want to come across as. Even this time, having done it a year prior, that is the biggest challenge. I’m sitting there, supposed to be interviewing Luke Bryan and there are cameras all around. You feel like you’re under the microscope even more. It’s challenging to do it in a natural way, but if you’ve done it a few times, it gets easier. Hopefully, we pulled it off.”
The special includes performances from Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, the Zac Brown Band and others. “Being back there with everybody, I think it comes across that we all are still fans of all these people, of music, and the whole experience in general," Westbrook says about his fellow Little Big Town bandmates Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schalapman and singer/guitarist Phillip Sweet. "We know how special it is to be backstage, and to be able to see that side of things. Just to walk out in front of everyone is an incredible feeling. I hope it comes across that we just love being there.”
The group is also excited about the success of their current single “Day Drinking,” which is currently No. 23 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The cut is the first release from their upcoming album, Pain Killer, due out Oct. 21. “We just finished up the record, finally, and the single is out and doing well,” says Westbrook. “The fans have really responded well to the songs. I can’t wait to see how people react to the rest of the music. I feel like ‘Day Drinking' is the tip of the iceberg on the whole thing, so I can’t wait for people to hear it!”