Little Big Town may have wished they could “Stay All Night” when they visited Jimmy Fallon and performed on the Tonight Show this week, but they certainly made an impression with the time they had. The group, whose newest record, Pain Killer, debuted this week at Number Three on the country albums chart, was joined by Tonight Show house band the Roots for a beefed-up version of album highlight “Stay All Night.” The performance included what may be a first for country music on TV: a tuba!
The unexpected is par for Little Big Town’s course, however, especially when it comes to working with their Pain Killer producer, Jay Joyce.
“Jay brings wildness,” Karen Fairchild recently told Rolling Stone Country of the man who has also helmed acclaimed albums by Eric Church and the Wallflowers. “He’s such a creative guy and he likes to see if we can pull one over on ourselves again: Can we do it better than we did last time? He’s always up for the chase. But he’s very confident. He thinks of things you’d never think of.”
“He’s like a rock & roll guru, a Zen punk rocker,” added Phillip Sweet.
The Tonight Show appearance caps off a memorable October for the quartet, who have been together for 15 years. In addition to the release of Pain Killer, Little Big Town recently became the newest act inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, welcomed by longtime Opry cast members Vince Gill and Little Jimmy Dickens.
“My mother started listening to it as a kid,” the group’s Kimberly Schlapman said of the 89-year-old radio show. “We listened to it growing up at our house. Then when we came to town, I came to the Opry a few times and sat out in the audience and just dreamed, ‘I wonder what it feels like to be invited to be an Opry member.’ I’ve played that through my head so many times across the years. Now we finally know.”
The group’s first-ever public performance (other than in record-label conference rooms in pusuit of a recording deal) took place during a Grand Ole Opry show.
“That was the same day we signed our record deal,” says the group’s fourth member, Jimi Westbrook, whose blistering rock vocal is another highlight of the Tonight Show‘s “Stay All Night.”
Little Big Town’s Pain Killer Tour, featuring opening acts Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne, kicks off Friday, November 8th, in Youngstown, Ohio.