Released ahead of the album in March 2010 was the single "Little White Church". It went on to become a Top 10 Country hit while crossing over to the pop charts where it landed at #59. Little Big Town counted down the release of their new album on iTunes by releasing a new digital single each week beginning July 27 with the album's title track, "The Reason Why". It was followed by "Kiss Goodbye", "Why Oh Why" and "All The Way Down". The group teamed up with Sugarland on their Incredible Machine tour in 2010 (and again in 2011) where they continued their tradition of ending each concert with all the night's acts on stage performing a cover song. At a Mississippi show celebrating Elvis Week in August of 2010, that song was Marc Cohn's "Walking In Memphis":
The Reason Why, their fourth album, was released in August 2010 and became their first #1 on the Country album chart when it reached the summit on September 11, 2010. It also debuted at the #5 position on the Top 200. Although it received almost equally positive reviews and landed high on the charts, HERC felt it was a bit of a letdown from A Place To Land. Wayne Kirkpatrick was still on board but something was off.
Recorded at three different tour stops in September 2010, Sugarland and Little Big Town came together to record their version of "Sigh No More" by Mumford & Sons complete with incredible six-part harmonies and a rousing guitar strum-off.
The second single from The Reason Why was "Kiss Goodbye" released in October 2010. It narrowly missed the Top 40 on the Country charts.
The next radio single (performed live on the Craig Ferguson show above) was the album's title track which peaked at #42 just like "Kiss Goodbye". In March 2011, at a concert stop in Illinois, Little Big Town and Sugarland covered HERC's favorite Madonna song:
To celebrate the (falsely prophesied) Rapture, Matt Nathanson joined Sugarland and Little Big Town for the fitting concert finale performance of R.E.M.'s classic "It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" in May 2011. In June 2011, Little Big Town joined old friends (and future tourmates) Rascal Flatts onstage at the CMA Music Festival in a performance (see video below) featuring a medley of three classic rock hits from the '70s. Little Big Town then opened for Miranda Lambert for a few dates on her tour before headlining their own The Reason Why tour to close out the year.
In October 2011, the group put their spin on the Maroon 5 hit "Moves Like Jagger" and posted the video above, the last (to date) of their Scattered, Smothered and Covered series of covers they also performed on stage during their concerts. The next month, they released their second Holiday single, their take on one of the season's evergreen standards: "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
Lionel Richie performed duets with many of country music's biggest superstars and legends on his Tuskegee album , released in March 2012. Covering his own previously released (and in many cases hugely successful) back catalog of songs in a slightly more country way was a bold move but it paid off by selling more than a million copies and topping both the Country albums chart and the Top 200 chart. Five singles were released in advance of the album and all five failed to chart. Then, just as had happened with "Life In A Northern Town" a few years earlier, several key country radio stations began playing the album cut "Deep River Woman" which was Lionel's duet with Little Big Town. In 1987, Lionel's original version of the song, which was a duet with Alabama, made it to the Top 10 on the Country singles chart; twenty-five years later, Little Big Town helped take their version up to #60 without the benefit of a physical or digital single.
Shortly after HERC's birthday this year, Little Big Town released the first single from their fifth album. The sunny "Pontoon" was soon added to HERC's Summer playlist and shared with all of his Spotify friends. Which no doubt propelled the single to the top of the Country charts, becoming both the group's first #1 and Platinum selling single. It's also worth noting that it wasn't written by the group.
Little Big Town's fifth album (Tornado) was released on September 11, 2012 and debuted at #2 on the Top 200 album chart. Two weeks later, it climbed onto the top of the Country album chart where it has reigned ever since - at least at the time of this writing. The album is the group's shortest running effort since their debut and is also the first album not to feature Wayne Kirkpatrick in any capacity. The four core members also had a hand in writing less than half the songs on the record as well. Nevertheless, it is a good listen and
probably ranks as HERC's second favorite album by them. Tornado's second single is the album's title track which was released on October 1st. A week after their album was released, the group posted the video below on their YouTube channel. It's their contribution to the campaign Child Hunger Ends Here.
HERC leaves you with the rest of Little Big Town's fabulous Scattered, Smothered and Covered video series, recorded and posted on their YouTube Channel throughout 2011.