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VISITING ACT ‌ Little Big Town

One of this week's stand-outs at the Fair

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Arkansas-born country vocal band Little Big Town head to the Charleston area this weekend for a headlining show at the Coastal Carolina Fair.

Last spring, they were nominated in the Top Vocal Duo or Vocal Group and Top New Vocal Group categories at the Academy of Country Music Awards. As singer/guitarist Phillip Sweet said, shortly before the awards, just getting nominated was a huge honor. "We just were shocked that we were even up for that award. We were up with some of the biggest groups around. So we're just grateful to even be nominated."

For Little Big Town, the prospect of having any success in country music would have seemed like wishful thinking in itself. Sweet, singer/guitarist Jimi Westbrook, and singers Kimberly Roads and Karen Fairchild first landed a deal with Mercury Records around 1999 only to see the deal fall apart before an album could be finished. Next stop was Sony's Monument Records, which signed them in 2001 and released a self-titled debut in '02, which failed to gain critical attention or big sales. Still, the foursome pushed forward.

The support of Wayne Kirkpatrick, a well-known songwriter/producer in Nashville, helped enormously. Kirkpatrick agreed to finance the recording of what became The Road To Here – a gem filled with rootsy, bluegrass-tinged rockers like "Good As Gone" and "Boondocks," and edgy ballads like "Live With Lonesome" and "Bring It On Home." The sound has obviously struck a chord, as sales of the CD have topped 500,000 copies.

"It's just exciting, and we're just amazed that we were able to put our hearts and souls out there and people are responding to that and we didn't have to compromise anything," Sweet says. "It feels really nice." –Alan Sculley

Little Big Town play the Coastal Carolina Fair's Lakefront Stage in the Exchange Park in Ladson on Mon. Oct. 30. Music starts at 9 p.m. Admission is $8 ($6 adv.). See www.coastalcarolinafair.org for more.

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