Always paved with critical praise, Little Big Town's long road to success was also littered with radio roadblocks and label detours. Together since 1998, the country quartet shuffled between four different record labels and released five albums before they achieved validation in the form of their first Number One song ("Pontoon") and their first Grammy and Country Music Association award wins. The secret to reaching such sweet success after almost 15 years together ultimately came down to banning perfectionism from the studio while making their latest album, Tornado.
"Tornado shows a lot of growth," the band's Karen Fairchild tells Rolling Stone. "We wanted to shake it up, and we knew we had to be uncomfortable – trying to push ourselves and not putting so many boundaries on ourselves. Just being free to go with our gut feeling. The days that we were recording, it was about having an instinct on a song and rolling with it instead of second-guessing or overanalyzing the music. It just happened in the moment."
In this exclusive video, Little Big Town take fans behind the scenes of the making of Tornado and their travels to several renowned concert venues in support of the album. We see the band, under the guidance of producer Jay Joyce, treat recording sessions more like jams, and we hear candid conversations about their musical transformation.
"This band has always been about perseverance," says Fairchild. "Back when the bottom fell out and we went back to working jobs, we kept making music together because we felt it was important. We just kept pushing through. It was years and years in the making, but it was worth it and makes us appreciate so much where we are now."