Karen Fairchild: Making Herself Heard
Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild talks about building a career—and a home.
To commemorate the Nov. 6 release of Little Big Town’s new A Place to Land album, Country Weekly is focusing on one member of the platinum group in each of four consecutive issues. The Nov. 5 issue features our profile of Karen Fairchild. Here are a few exclusive online-only excerpts from our talk with Karen.
On the Challenges of Success:
Managing the stress of it is probably the most challenging thing. It’s tough not getting overwhelmed, trying to take a step back and just get it all done. But it’s not hard compared to other jobs. Compared to cleaning the house, it’s still cake.
On Her First Public Performance:
I remember being really young, like kindergarten. I was singing in my first Christmas play at church and I had a solo for the first time. I heard myself on the microphone out in the house, and I heard vibrato coming from my little pipsqueak voice. I remember that freaked me out, because it sounded like a grownup’s voice. That was a moment when I thought, “Can I sing?”
On the New Song “Evangeline”:
People are going to hear it and think we’re talking about domestic violence. We’re really talking about emotional abuse, about how and why females get into situations where they allow themselves to be mistreated. It’s about people in our lives that we know have been in this situation. I think it’s a really special moment on the record. It’s very rootsy and bluegrass-tinged. Kimberly’s singing it. It says, “You don’t have to be hit to be bruised, you don’t have to be kicked to be abused.” It might not be a single, but it’ll be meaningful. We’re trying to write things that matter. We’ll write the fun ditties, the “raise your hands in the air” songs, but I don’t think it would be a real reflection of us if we weren’t doing some things of substance.
On John Mellencamp’s Advice to Little Big Town:
We were on his bus and he said, “Have you all written ‘Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground’ yet? Have you written ‘Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain’ yet?” We’re like, “Well, no, John.” He said, “Well, that’s the standard. You guys can do it. You can turn this town on its ear if you put out another record where you even go further than you went before.” He was challenging us not to settle.
On Buying a House With Husband Jimi Westbrook:
Our biggest thing was that our house be comfortable and peaceful, because road life is so different from that—so chaotic. We’re working on it. It seems like we come home, unpack boxes, shift things around, pick up a piece of furniture, go back on the road, come back home, try to tackle the garage. We’re always trying to work on the house, which is fun.
On Writing the New Song “Fury”:
We had just done a show, and we were toast. But we were like, ‘We’ve got to finish this song.’ So we all met back at the hotel room. We’re laying on the beds with guitars and notebooks, and beating this lyric to death, trying to describe a woman scorned and the man that’s done her wrong—just trying to find different ways to say that. It’s an interesting process, and sometimes it’s not fun, because we try to push each other to a better place. Maybe nobody will get that when they hear it. Maybe you’ll listen to it and say, “Well, I don’t know what took so long.” But we really dig that lyric, so hopefully everybody else will too.