Grammy Award-winning vocal group Little Big Town launched their unprecedented year-long artist residency, “Little Big Town at the Mother Church,” from Nashville’s famed Ryman Auditorium this weekend with back-to-back, sold-out shows on Friday and Saturday evening. The reigning CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year earned numerous standing ovations as they showcased their award-winning vocals during each nightly performance of their new album, The Breaker. The launch of “Little Big Town at the Mother Church” coincides with the world-wide release of Little Big Town’s seventh studio album, released February 24th, and marks the only time in the venue’s 125-year history to host a year-long artist residency.
Band members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook’s took to the Ryman stage following support acts Brent Cobb (2/24) and Ashley Monroe (2/25) to debut their first, and only, live full-length album performances of The Breaker. After opening the show with the album’s “optimistic standout” (Sounds Like Nashville) “Happy People,” the band went on to perform every track on their new album from top to bottom– including their current chart-topping #1 song at country radio, “Better Man”–before later trading off lead vocals for several songs including “Beat Up Bible,” “When Someone Stops Loving You,” and the album’s title track, “The Breaker.”
The packed set list had the audience on their feet, singing along to every word of the band’s biggest hits, from “Pontoon” to “Girl Crush,” the thirteen week #1 Grammy-winning crossover hit that recently propelled Pain Killer to RIAA-Platinum-status, earning the group their third RIAA-Platinum album certification as a band.
Each evening’s special surprise guest appearances–an expected staple of future “Little Big Town at the Mother Church” dates—solicited enormous audience applause as breakout Country artists Sam Hunt and Chris Stapleton (2/24) and powerhouse vocalist Andra Day (2/25) joined Little Big Town on stage. At the close of each show, in contrast, the band earned a different reaction—complete reverence in the form of uninterrupted silence- as the band launched into an unexpected, completely acoustic encore, sans mics, aimed at paying homage to early Ryman Auditorium performances.
Saturday’s show also included an additional on-stage surprise, with the band’s announcement from the Ryman stage that a 10th “Little Big Town at the Mother Church” Ryman Residency date has been added for July 30th due to popular demand