Music

New (Country?): Little Big Town — ‘Mr. Sun’

Label: Capitol Nashville

Mr. Sun is the first album by Little Big Town that I’ve actually enjoyed. What’s changed? My expectations. After years of frustration, watching the super group sweep Country Music awards with songs that felt like they blonged in other categories, and while I wondered when the heck they were ever going to record some actual country music, I’ve moved on. I reassessed the situation and gave them a fresh listen. See? There’s hope for the world, after all.

Besides, what more can I want from an album than the enticing intros, pillowy harmonies, and melty popsicle emotions that Little Big Town’s Mr. Sun floats on? This is what I’ve called good music since I was 12 and won my first turntable from getting enough new subscriptions on my paper route… and still do.

To quote the second track on this album (“Better Love”), “It is what it is.” In other words, what they are, they are. And what they are is a fairly fantastic quartet, who deliver reliably catchy song after song, all the while maintaining a tricky balance of presenting their varied talents. (Think Fleetwood Mac for the 2020s, but with a smoother, sleeker, more polished sound.)

My personal favorite track —  “Friends of Mine,” an irresistible song with Sunday morning harmonies and reminders to “Take courage, friends of mine.” Is it country? At this point, band members Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook, and Phillip Sweet have earned the right to be held to their own standards. And Mr. Sun raises Little Big Town to a higher level than ever.

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