Little Big Town coming to our town

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By Chris Sardelli

With their distinctive four-part harmonies and combination of country and bluegrass-tinged tunes, Little Big Town is sure to lure a few more fans into their fold on Saturday.

That’s when the up-and-coming country group performs as part of See Lancaster’s Performing Arts Series at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster’s Bundy Auditorium. The four-time Grammy Award-nominated band is the third act to be featured in the 2009-10 series.

Little Big Town, a quartet made up of Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman and Phillip Sweet, has been performing together for more than a decade, though its recent efforts have launched it into the national spotlight.

The band is known for its layered four-part vocal harmonies, with each of its members alternating as lead singer.

The seeds for the band began in the early 1990s when Fairchild and Schlapman started singing together as students at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. Westbrook and Sweet completed the group in late 1998, bringing their vocals and rhythm guitar abilities.

Since then, the group has evolved, turning into one of Nashville’s more unique offerings. All four are now married, with Fairchild and Westbrook marrying each other in 2006.

The band released its first self-titled album in 2002, though it didn’t achieve notoriety until signing with Equity Music Group, an independent record label owned by Clint Black.

It was there that the band released its second album, “The Road to Here,” in 2005. That album sold more than 1 million copies and introduced the country-music scene to several hit songs and Top 10 singles, including “Boondocks,” “Bring It On Home,” “Good as Gone” and “A Little More You.”

In 2007, the band switched music labels to Capitol Records Nashville, under which it released the album “A Place to Land.” That album produced the Top 40 country singles “I’m With the Band” and “Fine Line.”

Buzz about the group grew even more after it recorded a live track with tourmates and fellow country stars Sugarland and Jake Owen, called “Life in a Northern Town.”

Over the last four years, the band has earned several nominations at the Grammy Awards, the Country Music Association Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and CMT Music Awards. The group has also toured with several country stars, including Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and George Strait.

Arts series doing well

Peggy Little, director of the newly reorganized See Lancaster SC and the Performing Arts Series, is looking forward to Little Big Town’s performance.

With a new album on the way, Little said the band is right on the cusp of a greater level of notoriety. She’s pleased that she was able to book the group for the series.

“I’m thrilled for Little Big Town to come here,” Little said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

So far, the roster has already included popular performances by The Spinners and Pure Prairie League, and will showcase a variety of musical offerings later in its season, from Ricky Scaggs to the Glenn Miller Orchestra.

“It’s a learning process to know what type of music you need. We always try to add a variety,” Little said about the series.

“We want people to come and have a good time and want everyone to know they can experience these things in Lancaster, where before they had to go to Charlotte.”

For information about purchasing single or season tickets, contact Little at (803) 286-1145 or plittle@lancastercitysc.com.

Want to go?

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: University of South Carolina at Lancaster’s Bundy Auditorium

HOW MUCH: Tickets are $95 each and are available at the See Lancaster office inside the Springs House, 201 W. Gay St. Tickets can also be purchased online at plittle@lancastercity.sc.com.

INFORMATION: 286-1145 or 285-6207 (fax)