Wedding proposals at concerts are nothing new, but country act Little Big Town took things a step further on its recent tour, setting up a space for lucky fans to tie the knot at one of its shows.
"We propped up a little white tent that had church windows and put candelabras inside with red carpet and white chairs," LBT's Kimberly Schlapman says. "There were some special couples. One was a soldier and his wife who hadn't been able to have a real wedding because every time they'd planned a ceremony, he had to go off to war."
The promotion served to highlight the band's first single, "Little White Church," from new album "The Reason Why," which came out Tuesday (Aug. 24) on Capitol Nashville. The band continued the momentum by hitting the road with Sugarland at the end of July.
" 'Little White Church' is the fastest-rising single of their career," Capitol Records Nashville senior VP of marketing Cindy Mabe says. LBT has charted 10 singles on the country chart, with "Boondocks" and "Bring It On Home" from 2005 album "The Road to Here" peaking at Nos. 9 and 4, respectively. The band's previous album, "A Place to Land," yielded "I'm With the Band," "Fine Line" and "Good Lord Willing," which peaked at Nos. 32, 31 and 43, respectively.
The success of "Little White Church" could be attributed in part to the band's new label-its fourth in a 10-year career. LBT, which also includes Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet, started on Mercury Records, then moved to Monument Records, releasing a self-titled debut album before jumping to now-defunct Equity Records. While on Equity, the group released two albums, the last of which, "A Place to Land," was rereleased by Capitol Nashville in October 2008.
"We felt like there was music on there to be heard," Westbrook says of the rerelease. "We had worked so hard on that record for so long and wanted to get the opportunity for people to hear it."
The group members say the label changes weren't easy, but they persevered. "The band has never been about one label, obviously," Fairchild says. "Little Big Town is about the music the four of us make together. We look at the journey as a blessing in a way. One thing has led us to the next. If we hadn't parted ways with the first couple of labels, we would never have made the 'Road to Here' record on our own with no one looking over our shoulders. It launched a fantastic career and we're grateful."
"The Reason Why" is the first album the group has recorded since becoming part of the Capitol roster. "They were such a highly sought-after band when we signed them that we all believed we won the lottery when they decided to join our label," Mabe says. "Little Big Town is so fresh-sounding with such incredible four-part harmonies. There is no one in this format that does what they do. Any one of the four of them could be a solo artist, but what they do together is just magical."
Sweet says the group "approached things differently" on the new record. "We worked with engineer Jeff Balding. He was part of the recording and mixing. We wanted a strong sound. It's a little more aggressive."
The band co-produced the album with Wayne Kirkpatrick and co-wrote eight of the 12 tracks. Though country fans battling tough economic times will likely embrace the album-closing ballad "Lean Into It" as their own mantra, the group's members definitely feel a personal connection to the lyric about persevering and overcoming adversity.
"It was Wayne's lyrical idea, his hook," Fairchild says of Kirkpatrick initiating "Lean Into It," which the band co-wrote. "He said he was thinking about us and our story."