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Album Review: “A Place To Land” by Little Big Town (Capital re-release)

December 14, 2008

Alternate cover

4 Stars

 

Probably one of the biggest surprises of the past few years is the major success of this band, Little Big Town. After a flopped first record, they retaliated with a Grammy nominated sophomore project with Equity Records and later released their third album, A Place To Land, in 2007. However in 2008 they were signed to Capital Records who took control of the project and added four new tracks and new cover art and on top of that the album was re-charted in the top 10, where it charted the first time.

It would be an understatement to call this foursome underdogs of the country music world. Their career as a band has been full of ups and downs stirred by their sophisticated sound, stylistic harmonies, and especially their ability to act as a quartet, all of which many believed would stain their ability to compete with the mass number of popular artists in the genre. However, this project proves once and for all that all these aspects are what make them great. All but four of the tracks are a joint writing effort between the four and, after adding new material, what turned out to be a decent record in 2007 has become one of the best in the market in 2008. Every song has its own feel and significance and the band’s ability to work together and bring out the best in not only themselves, but each other just makes this record all the more enjoyable and pleasant to the ears.

Thus far three singles have been released from the project, four if you count the added bonus of “Life In A Northern Town” that appeared on the charts without actually being a single. Every one of them showcases the different moods associated with this album as well as the major qualities that have made Little Big Town likable from all ends of the spectrum. “I’m With The Band” was the original single which focused on the struggling, yet enjoyable life of a musician through mid-tempo beats and almost completely harmonic production. Karen Fairchild takes the reins in “Fine Line”, the second single, which targets the fine line between real love and fake love with a more powerful production and much more attitude. The most recent work, however, showcases a sound radio has yet to hear from this group on a popular radio hit. “Good Lord Willing” puts Phillip Sweet in charge as he portrays the enjoyment of living on the edge in a high energy fun song.

These three singles have helped identify Little Big Town as a formidable opponent in the group category for their future, providing harmonies and sounds with so much realistic feeling and co-operation that it challenges even the best in the business. However, there is one mood not included in these singles, the slow and steady one. While much of this album is filled with mid-tempo and energetic songs, the band also shows off their pipes in slow songs like the romantic “Love Profound” and “To Know Love”. Both focus on the beauty associated with love, either through a woman or symbols from nature and take advantage of the four singers individual abilities to bring some flair and effectiveness to the performance. Others like “Your Gonna Love Me” and “Only What Make Of It” are more focused around the message than the art, using less of the harmonies, but more power to bring out what’s behind the lyrics.

Like their latest single, the band includes quite a few high energy songs in here too to lighten up the mood a bit. You could go for more rock oriented sounds like “Fury” or “Novocaine” or you could opt out for more contemporary sounds in songs like “That’s Where I’ll Be” and “A Place To Land”. Some are more mid-tempo than others, but all have that toe-tapping quality and a few have the message to go with it. Take for instance the title track which is about knowing you’re falling in life, you’re just trying to land in the right place, a massage that makes it quite appropriate for the band’s album considering that it’s what they’ve been trying to do for three albums now.

There is just so much that this project has to offer and, surprisingly enough, the four extra tracks that Capital Records included only adds to this. From life to relationships and on, this album is so diverse that you could put it on shuffle and end up with a surprise every time. To add to all this Little Big Town’s harmonies complete the package by adding a little bit of well established flair and perfection to every track. Even where cliche messages seem to litter the lyric the band manages to turn around and come out with a solid track every time. Little Big Town have had a bumpy road, but they’ve made some great strides in competing with the masses with this project which is confidently the most solid offering they’ve come out with yet.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 14, 2008 3:43 pm

    I loved this album when it first came out and I love it just the same a year later. I’m hoping that if a fourth (or fifth) single is released that the title track get released it’s such a fun song.

  2. Blake Boldt permalink
    December 15, 2008 5:46 am

    Love, love, love Little Big Town. Nice review.

  3. Laura permalink
    January 2, 2009 12:15 am

    in their lastest single ‘good lord willin’, it’s mainly sung by jimi westbrook not phillip sweet. would be an awesome song regardless of which one was to sing it. i love phillip’s voice but it is nice to hear jimi because if u think about it he only sings ‘main’ on boondocks and a little more you. makes no difference to me, totally LOVE little big town. really hope their new headlinging tour will put them in the place they’ve been working so long and hard for and so deserve!! 🙂

  4. cowboybleau permalink*
    January 2, 2009 3:02 pm

    My bad Laura. I always mix the two of them up.

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