Tenille Townes and The Turnpike Troubadours joined Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town as The Bandwagon Tour stopped at Hartford's Xfinity Theatre.

Country music superstars Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town have joined forces to create the must-see-tour of the summer. Not only are fans treated to headlining sets from each, but also a third full set from both collaborating together on some of their biggest hits.

Collectively these artists have some serious hardware on their shelves: thirty-six ACM Awards, twenty-one CMA Awards and four GRAMMYs. Their performances in Hartford left no doubt how well deserved those wins have been.

Little Big Town in Hartford CT on July 20, 2018 / Photo by Shawn St. Jean

Little Big Town in Hartford CT on July 20, 2018 / Photo by Shawn St. Jean

Little Big Town

Little Big Town, consisting of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook, got their start twenty years ago. The reigning CMA and ACM Vocal Group of the Year is currently featured in a year long exhibit at The Country Music Hall of Fame called The Power of Four. Speaking at a recent preview of the exhibit, Fairchild said: 

“We are just four people that believed they had something unique to share. We have a great love for music and each other and family, and we’ve got that incredible foundation of family that gives us the courage to think that we can conquer anything in our lives.”

And conquer they did in Hartford. Their performance was everything you’d hope it would be, featuring gorgeous harmonies, incredible energy and a set list stacked with hits from the past two decades.

Little Big Town hit the stage with a strong one-two punch of Rollin’ followed by Day Drinking – two tracks that had everyone singing along. A few songs in Westbrook took the lead on the emotional When Someone Stops Loving You. Every time we see him perform this song we think back to 2015 when he underwent vocal cord surgery and are just so thankful that he recovered.

Other crowd favorites from their set included Tornado, Pontoon, the Taylor Swift-penned Better Man, a magical cover of Elton John’s Rocket Man, and their most recent single, Summer Fever.

Now I’m sure you’re asking, what about Girl Crush – they had to play that one, right? Hang on, it’s coming.

Miranda Lambert in Hartford CT on July 20, 2018 / Photo by Shawn St. Jean

Miranda Lambert in Hartford CT on July 20, 2018 / Photo by Shawn St. Jean

Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert is the most decorated artist in ACM history, and is the current reigning ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, having won the honor for nine consecutive years. Lambert was recently named the 2018 artist-in-residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame, becoming the youngest artist to receive the honor and only the third woman.

Lambert’s stunning vocals, incredible storytelling, and kick-ass band yielded a set that took everyone on an emotional roller coaster. From the fiery Kerosene and Gunpowder & Lead, to the heartwarming All Kinds of Kinds and The House That Built Me.

As she had done the night before at Jones Beach, Lambert surprised everyone with a Pistol Annies reunion. Ashley Monroe and Angaleena Presley joined Lambert for a couple of songs – Hell on Heels and Takin’ Pills. In a recent interview with The Boot, Presley confirmed that a new Pistol Annies album is on the way: “We just finished our third record. Two weeks ago,” she said. “So we don’t really have a release date, per se, yet, but the record is there.”

Other crowd favorites included We Should Be Friends, Vice, and Mama’s Broken Heart. Lambert closed out her set with a moving performance of Tin Man, with Little Big Town joining her on stage as the final notes played.

Us: This has been one of the best shows ever!
Lambert and Little Big Town: Hold our beers.

The Bandwagon Tour in Hartford CT on July 20, 2018 / Photo by Shawn St. Jean

The Bandwagon Tour in Hartford CT on July 20, 2018 / Photo by Shawn St. Jean

The Forty-Minute Finale

This is where the show went from amazing to the must-see-tour of the summer. For forty minutes, Lambert and Little Big Town collaborated together on some of their biggest hits. They went back and forth, picking songs from each other’s catalog, and even a few fantastic covers.

What made the performance really special though was that it was obvious that this wasn’t the case of two headliners just thrown together to sell tickets. Lambert and Little Big Town looked at home together; they just fit perfectly. And they’re clearly having a damn good time doing it. Just check out this clip of them performing Lambert’s Little Red Wagon:

We’ve always been in love with Karen Fairchild’s lead vocals on Girl Crush, but seeing her share that role with Lambert was breathtaking. Take a look:

The finale also included Smokin’ and Drinkin’, Boondocks, White Liar, and Little White Church. One of the biggest reactions from the crowd came when they covered The Dixie Chicks’ Goodbye Earl; the singing from the audience nearly drowned them out. They wrapped up with a cover of Lean on Me.

The Opening Acts

Columbia Nashvile recording artist Tenille Townes was first to take the stage in Hartford. The Canadian native performed a brief solo acoustic set featuring songs from her latest EP, Living Room Worktapes, including one of my favorites, Where You Are. The twenty-four year old made her Grand Ole Opry debut last month.

The Turnpike Troubadours followed Townes with a high energy set full of fiddle, banjo and pedal steel guitar. Led by co-founder Evan Felker, the six-man band from Oklahoma released their fifth album, A Long Way From Your Heart, last year. The Troubadours previously toured with Miranda Lambert as part of her Livin’ Like Hippies Tour earlier this year.

Check out our exclusive photos from the show below:

The Finale: Miranda Lambert with Little Big Town

Miranda Lambert

Little Big Town

The Turnpike Troubadours

Tenille Townes


Were you at the show in Hartford or have you seen any of these artists perform live elsewhere? Let us know what you thought of the performance in the comments section below!