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Little Big Town

Little Big Town – 2002 (Sony)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Little Big Town

It doesn't take many times through Little Big Town's debut to find out that the members of this harmony-heavy foursome were likely more influenced by ABBA and Crosby, Stills & Nash than they were by the Oak Ridge Boys, the Statler Brothers or Alabama. That comes through more on the way the 10-songs here are backed instrumentally than by the vocal stylings. Make no mistake. This is a vocal group. Sometimes that comes through at the expense of the music and sometimes as an equal effective partner. The group consists of two girls, Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Roads, and two guys, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook. All are from either Georgia, Alabama or Arknasas.

If there's a knock to be made about the material, it is that the themes all cover well-traveled ground and very little that is sung feels like a unique perspective. Yet there is an unmistakable and undeniable attraction about the quality of these voices and the way they mix with each other like a perfect mix of spices in your favorite food. There is no lead singer in Little Big Town. That duty is equally shared.

Just about half of the material was penned by the collective group, and that's a strength even if those talents need to be a bit more ambitiously used the next time out. Certainly this is a debut worth hearing. There's even crossover potential here.