Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild is spending her 54th birthday today (9/28) at work as she and her bandmates host tonight’s People Choice Country Awards in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Karen, her husband Jimi Westbrook, and bandmates Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet have been staples in the Nashville music scene for over twenty years.
As a journalist, I’ve been interviewing this group since day one, and Little Big Town members are some of the nicest people in Nashville. In 2015, the group struck a chord when they released their Pain Killer album, which had such songs as “Girl Crush” and “Day Drinking” on it. That album won a Grammy for Best Country Album in 2016 and also won the Album of the Year honors in 2015 for both the ACM and the CMA.
I chatted with Karen not long after the album came out. She responded to the praise it was getting. Karen told me about Miranda Lambert, who cited Pain Killer as her favorite album at the time. “For me personally to know that another singer-songwriter entertainer of the year Miranda Lambert would like what we’re doing and you know, be listening to it is incredible. We listen to all her records.” She added, “She (Miranda) raised the bar. We wanted to up our game too. It’s like every time we get back in the studio, we wanna take it to a new place and a better place, and we’re super proud of the way Pain Killer turned out.”
I spoke to Fairchild again in 2016 when her group released the Taylor Swift penned “Better Man.” Karen told me how they presented the song to the public without revealing the superstar behind it. She said, “Taylor is the biggest pop star in the world, but she’s a songwriter from Nashville, Tennessee, and she likes to tell a story, and we didn’t want you to have any subtext there other than to hear this song.”
She continued, “And we did that, and it had the biggest add day in our history with the guys at Universal that we ever had, and so we were like, ‘Damn, we were right! This is a good song! You know? Nobody even knows!’ So, for all the people that we told little white lies to, we didn’t really lie. We said a young girl from Nashville, Tennessee, wrote it.”
As we celebrate Karen on her big day, we take a look at some of her group’s biggest and best songs.