If there's one key element to Little Big Town's success, it's the people who've endlessly supported them over the course of their 20-year journey. Singers Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet humbly thanked these "believers" who came out in packs to the unveiling of their new exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday (June 26).
Little Big Town: The Power of Four honors the harmonizing foursome's history and displays various mementos that are a part of their unique story.
Their transformation unfolds as you walk along the display that boasts childhood items, throwback photos from when they first formed in the '90s, Grammy and CMA Awards and several props from music videos, including the vintage bicycles used in the "Summer Fever" video.
But before there was success, the group faced many struggles, an important factor that shaped them into an unbreakable team. Together they endured the loss of a record deal, a failed debut single and album, and experienced true tragedy with the death of Steven Roads, Schlapman's first husband and the band's lawyer, due to a heart attack. But a moment at his funeral defined their unwavering strength when Schlapman's bandmates performed a stirring rendition of "My Armageddon" and she found herself standing to join them in harmony.
"In that moment, some things were clear. This was not a group of performers, these were people who loved and cared and cried for each other and music was not trivial or pointless, it was lifeblood," CMHOF CEO Kyle Young told the crowd that had gathered to honor the group.
He also lauded their creative spirit.
"Each time Little Big Town abandoned convention in favor of creativity, the public responded with interest and appreciation. The chances they took and the unique sound of them singing together, the power of four, made Little Big Town instantly identifiable and ultimately beloved."
The stars were overcome with emotion as they reflected on their career and the people who helped them along the way. Schlapman couldn't help but recall her first visit to the Hall of Fame when she was a teen, a trip that inspired her desire to become a country music star. Westbrook tearfully noted how he felt "overwhelmed" walking through the exhibit and seeing their journey unfold.
"I love the power of four because that's all this, that's four people who believed that we had something to share together. We had kindred spirits and it's the greatest journey I could've ever hoped for," he said emotionally. "And the ups and downs, that's what makes it all beautiful."
"I look around and it's just believer after believer after believer," Fairchild expressed to the crowd of family members, friends and industry partners who have inspired them along the way, including songwriters Wayne Kirkpatrick, Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey and Jesse Frasure.
"We still look at each other on stage every night when we strike a chord and that sound, it almost creates a fifth note. We look at each other and are just blown away by that gift because that's so special," Sweet added. "That energy of music and the love that it can create is what keeps us changing and growing and excited."
Little Big Town: The Power of Four opens on Friday (June 29) and continues through June 9, 2019.