Little Big Town Talk Nerves and Laughs Ahead of CMA Music Festival TV Special

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Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet of Little Big Town perform onstage during the 2015 CMA Festival on June 13, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Little Big Town are seasoned professionals -- when it comes to performing. Their interview skills, however, are something else entirely. The band serves as the host of CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock, tonight on ABC, and Kimberly Schlapman said there were a few last minute butterflies during an interview with Dierks Bentley.

“Karen and I interviewed him in the dressing room,” she said during the CMA Music Festival in June. “It was going to be very casual, and we would just do it on the fly. Then, we got up there, and my hands started to shake, and I turned into a school girl -- just like I did with Tim McGraw last year,” she quipped. “But, we made it. Luckily, this show has great editors.”
Karen Fairchild said she thinks viewers will find the interview funny. “We teased Dierks about his People cover as ‘Country’s Hottest Guy.’ He turned red and got embarrassed, but it will make for great TV,” she said playfully.

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All in all, the telecast marks the third straight year that the band has hosted the three-hour telecast. During the evening press conferences that week, Jimi Westbrook admitted that they have grown a little more each year from the experience.
“It’s such an incredible thing to be at -- just to be there period. It’s been a fun three years, and it’s changed some over time as far as the things we’ve been doing. We were a little nervous and shaky the first year, but we’re a little more comfortable now.”
The ABC broadcast will feature many of country’s top superstars, such as Keith Urban, Jason Aldean and Carrie Underwood, as well as a few of the format’s newer stars such as Maddie & Tae, who definitely count their 2015 CMA Music Festival experience as a career highlight. “We went from the AT&T U-Verse stage, which is one of the smaller stages inside of the Music City Center to LP Field this year,” reflected Maddie Marlow to Billboard. “To go to the biggest stage that you can play is crazy. I think it goes to show that our music is connecting with people, and that’s all we can ask for from our fans.”

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Having topped the charts with “Girl In A Country Song,” and watching as their follow-up single “Fly” climbs the charts, Tae Dye says seeing the LP Field crowd sing the lyrics of their songs back to them was a memory that both will treasure forever. “That’s a priceless moment, and every time we perform, they know the words -- even when it’s some of our other songs. It’s a cool feeling because we write all of our own songs, and they are very personable, and very vulnerable, and come straight from our hearts. It’s a big deal for us because we are sharing our lives and thoughts with the world. To have people so accepting of our music and loving it is definitely one of those things that we’re very proud of. When we played LP Field, we were looking down at the people right in front of us. When we looked up, and saw all the other people we were playing for -- our biggest crowd ever -- it was a ‘take your breath away moment.’ We love having moments like that.”
Marlow admitted that the reach of the festival was one thing that surprised them both. “Tae and I were driving to town every day, and we would see license plates from all over -- about thirty different states. That was when we realized how many people were coming from all over, as well as all over the world,” she said. “That makes it more exciting for the artists!”
CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock airs Tuesday (Aug. 4) at 8/7c on the ABC Television Network.