Little Big Town - A Place To Land

After a successful relaunch of their career at indie Equity Records, Little Big Town moved to major label Capitol Records to re-issue this album.  Featuring the singles "Fine Line" and "With The Band," does the album continue their positive momentum?

There have been quite a few vocal bands in country music but none have been quite like Little Big Town.  Mixing the male-female harmonies of Fleetwood Mac with country instrumentation and the current pop sensibilities favored at country radio, Little Big Town has found and filled a niche in country music that periodically crops up.  Their break-out album “The Road To Here” was recorded for Equity Records and Equity managed to get the quartet up the charts and eventually they scored a platinum album.  While the label began to work “A Place To Land” (even releasing it), there were management shuffles and Little Big Town, owning the masters for the albums, took both to Capitol Records, who has repackaged and added four tracks to this release of “A Place To Land.”

Current single “Fine Line” leads off the album and it really exemplifies the Fleetwood Mac comparison.  The group mixes their dynamic “Go Your Own Way”-like vocal with an equally ear-pleasing melody that never forgets to keep country pickin’ audible in the background.  “I’m With The Band” shows off the quartet’s stellar harmonies again as they sing a song about the road.  It was the last single the group released under Equity.  “That’s Where I’ll Be” and “Vapor” both are as ear-pleasing as any CSNY or Eagles track while “Only What You Make Of It” has the charm of an Emmylou Harris track. 

“Evangeline” is one of the stand-out tracks on the disc for its stance on abuse not often discussed in country music.  With the bluegrass-y backing, “Evangeline” is a haunting track that tries to get the girl to realize what’s happening to her:

“You don’t have to be kicked to be bruised, you know,
You don’t have to be hit to be abused,
Evangeline you’re a hard one,
Your denial is bolstered by your dream,
Thinking love is gonna save you,
But it ain’t love if it’s mean, Evangeline"

“Fury” has a late 70’s country rock pulse to it that helps drive the melody that backs a lyric about a woman scorned by the man of her dreams.  “Good Lord Willing” features engaging resonator/slide guitar licks and solos while the progressive melody works for a great road song.  This is country rock with acoustic bluegrass roots.  With the high vocal harmonies, “Love Profound” sounds like something Martina McBride might have recorded but this Wayne Kirkpatrick track (one of only 4 songs not co-written by the band), has a sweet, acoustic arrangement that keeps the song from ever seeming glossy.  The album closes out the same way that Sugarland’s fan version of “Love On The Inside” does, with the live rendition of “Life In A Northern Town,” a song recorded from the two vocal group’s tour together with Jake Owen. 

“A Place To Land” is a stunning successful recording because of the songs written and recrorded by the band are strong but also because, after the disaster that was the slick overproduced debut album with Sony, the group decided to make the decisions with their career and decided to partner with Kirkpatrick to create what they’ve become an acoustic country-rock vocal band.  It’s a combination that most people wouldn’t imagine working to well but it certainly does for Little Big Town.