Since May 9th, Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” has reigned as the biggest country song in America, sitting atop the Billboard charts for nearly three months straight. It couldn’t be a better time for the band to hit the road. Unfortunately, the bulk of Little Big Town’s summer tour — which was scheduled to resume this Friday at the Delaware State Fair — has been canceled, with the band remaining at home until late August. The goal? To give bandmate Jimmy Westbrook, who underwent surgery in late June to remove a polyp from his vocal cords, enough time to fully recover.
“We have missed you,” Phillip Sweet told the group’s fans in a Facebook video, while the rest of the band — including a mute Westbrook, his mouth covered with painter’s tape — sat beside him on a couch. “As you can see,” Sweet added,” Jimi’s still not talking. He just got back from the doctor and he just needs a little bit more time to heal up, so he’ll be 100 percent and [can] get back on the road. So hang in there with us! We’re gonna be back up there really soon.”
Little Big Town’s Pain Killer Tour kicked off last November, then received an extension once “Girl Crush” topped the charts this spring. By early June, Westbrook — who sings lead vocals on four of the new album’s 13 songs — was regularly losing his voice after the shows, leading the group to cancel a six-week stretch of gigs while he flew back home to meet with the same doctors who treated Keith Urban’s vocal issues in 2011. Surgery followed later that month. Now, with an extra three weeks of recovery time thrown into the mix, Little Big Town are scheduled to return to the stage on August 22nd, when they’ll join Lynyrd Skynyrd and David Nail at the Eastbound Hoedown in Avondale, Canada.
In the meantime, Westbrook is expected to keep quiet, allowing his vocal cords the chance to completely heal. He’s been communicating via an iPad that hangs over his chest, attached to a pair of suspenders.