The Reason Why by Little Big Town

One of country music’s most extraordinary harmony groups returns with renewed energy on this set—the band’s efforts both vocally and conceptually are obvious. The disc is almost evenly split between earnest ballads and up-tempo rockers.

While “Little White Church” is obviously country’s answer to Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” it brings back the fun, swampy sound that served the group so well on its 2005 breakout hit, “Boondocks.”

Karen Fairchild’s muscular voice is a slow, dark molasses that enriches Kimberly Schlapman’s thinner, honey-sweet warbling on “Why, Oh Why.” Don’t miss the song’s ear-pleasing a cappella harmonies on the intro.

Karen turns in another standout vocal on the aching, well-crafted “Shut Up Train,” while the group brings a sensitive rock feel to “Rain on a Tin Roof.”

They give the sassy and moody tunes a break with a couple of carefree songs. “All Over Again” finds a couple attempting to reignite romantic sparks by returning to the place they first met, and the group’s vigor is undeniable on the sunny tracks “All the Way Down” and “Life Rolls On.”

New LBT music was a long time coming, but the quality of The Reason Why is in fact the reason why.

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