Little Big Town’s bittersweet hit “Better Man” was written by Taylor Swift, but the pop superstar isn’t the only famous name contributing to the country quartet’s forthcoming album, The Breaker: Brothers Osborne’s TJ Osborne co-wrote the title track for the February 24th release.
Swift and Osborne are joined by many of the group’s regular collaborators, including Natalie Hemby, “Girl Crush” co-authors Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose, who contribute a track called “Lost In California” and returning producer Jay Joyce, who gets a songwriter credit on “Night On Our Side.” Brothers Osborne guitarist John Osborne also makes an appearance on the album, playing his instrument of choice.
As usual, LBT’s members – Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook – wrote a number of tracks for the set, but they turned to outside writers more than for their last country album, 2014’s Pain Killer. Group members individually and collectively contributed to eight songs on that effort, compared with only three songs on The Breaker. The band also co-wrote all eight songs on Wanderlust, its pop-leaning 2016 collaboration with producer Pharrell Williams.
Little Big Town recorded The Breaker, its eighth studio set with their touring band and producer Joyce. “We’re always pushing to be progressive, so there’s some cool sounds on there. It has that soul and spirit that we always try to find with Jay,” Sweet told Rolling Stone Country in November. “Technical performances aren’t what he’s looking for – he’s looking to capture a feeling. We may spend a whole day or more on one song. Playing it not from your head, but from your heart. That’s what Jay is so great at. He’s a rare breed.”
“Better Man,” which Swift pitched to Little Big Town because she could imagine their stellar harmonies on it, is No. 2 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart this week.
The band kicks off a residency at Ryman Auditorium, the first ever for the historic Nashville venue, the day of the album’s release, following by five more dates, February 25th, May 19th – 20th, September 15th – 16th.
Below is the track listing for The Breaker:
1. “Happy People” (Lori McKenna, Hailey Whitters)
2. “Night on Our Side” (Jay Joyce, Jeremy Spillman, Phillip Sweet, Ryan Tyndell, Jimi Westbrook)
3. “Lost in California” (Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose)
4. “Free” (Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby, Luke Laird, Lori McKenna)
5. “Drivin’ Around” (Kameron Alexander, David Embree, Audra Mae, Todd Spadafore)
6. “We Went to the Beach” (Matt Jenkins, Chase McGill, Laura Veltz)
7. “Better Man” (Taylor Swift)
8. “Rollin'” (Natalie Hemby, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook)
9. “Don’t Die Young, Don’t Get Old” (Karen Fairchild, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Kimberly Schlapman)
10. “Beat Up Bible” (Cary Barlowe, Hillary Lindsey, Shane Stevens)
11. “When Someone Stops Loving You” (Hillary Lindsey, Chase McGill, Lori McKenna)
12. “The Breaker” (Connie Harrington, TJ Osborne)