DIARY - 15 DECEMBER 2008 - SUGARLAND CD REVIEW
LOVE ON THE INSIDE (Universal).
SUGARLAND AND STEVE EARLE
Sugarland toured here in March it played venues diverse as Snowy Mountains
festival at Thredbo, Fremantle and the humble Northcote Social Club.
With its first two albums' sales nudging five million the Atlanta
star duo road tested songs from just finished third disc.
But not the ditty that would have earned writers Jennifer Nettles
and Kristian Bush a rousing reception.
Earle - a wry celebration of the outlaw singer's seven marriages - was
left at the altar.
clear what the uber cool Earle thinks of the plea by Nettles to write
her a song as his next singing spouse.
Maybe he would baulk at caveat - "a really small wedding, only about
300 people/ did I tell you I have kids, you're gonna love them/ they're
gonna need to go to college."
Sugarland is at the opposite spectrum of country music to Earle with its
country rock anthems pitched at mainstream radio and stadium-arena audiences
the Texan long ago rejected.
"Jennifer is a fan, but I'm an absolutely stupid fan," Bush
confessed,"I started to explain to her, 'I think he is on wife No.
6 or 7 now, even though wives one and four were the same woman.' Jennifer
just said, 'Really? This dude is a country song.'"
As it turns out Steve has no opinion on the song.
"We sent it to him," Kristian explained, figuring "if the
song pisses him off, let's not put it on the album. We are bigger fans
than we are insistent songwriters.
"The response we got was that Steve doesn't read anything - reviews,
anything at all - about himself, so why would he listen to a song that
has been written about him? We thought, 'Genius! We love him even more.'
But his manager explained to him what we were trying to do. We were told
he laughed. That, in itself, is a triumph."
But, by using Atlanta - not Nashville as its launch pad and writing all
songs - the duo joined latter day New Yorker Earle as a geographical outsider.
But that's where the similarities end.
Sugarland aims squarely at the youth market from hedonistic entrée
All I Want To Do and quasi-rebellious It Happens where the character's
borrowed Cadillac rear-ends a memory in a pick-up truck.
But the fate of the driver in the vehicular mayhem of Joey - penned with
the legendary Bill Anderson - is left open ended, which could be a worse
than being rear ended.
GONE - DÉJÀ VU HIT
explored her Georgia clay rural roots in Genevieve, not so
mythical (single) mama's advice in Already Gone and rising
above menial toil of a motel cleaner in the anthemic Take Me As
Already Gone reached #5 on the Billboard charts at the start
Bush says the song has a "round"-about connection to an
old campfire tune.
"I love this song," he confided.
"It's a waltz. It's a classic country story of something that
redefines itself each time.
say 'I'm already gone' what does that mean to you in your life? And I
love how this song progresses as you go through it, and it's a round,
which I think is even more interesting, you know, like 'Row, Row Your
of Already Gone has been used previously.
The Eagles had a pop hit in 1974 with the same name.
It's not the first time Sugarland has had a repeat title: Stay
was the name of a 1978 single by Jackson Browne.
The Sugarland Stay has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and
the duo scored another nomination for its collaboration with Little
Big Town and Jake Owen on Life In A Northern Town.
Stay, a tale of infidelity written and sung by Nettles from the
viewpoint of the other cheater in the triangle, won the 2008 CMA Awards
song of the year.
The group started as a trio with Kristen Hall but is now the duo of Nettles
and Bush and was also named CMA Vocal Duo of the Year.
LAST COUNTRY SONG
break the mould of generic love lava that flows from turbo tonking tunes
We Run (new romance), Love, healing of Keep You and
regret of What'd I Give.
Perhaps the album's finale Very Last Country Song is also its pinnacle
- the narrator reaches into history to mine the motherlode of faded love
that could have been perfect if it had boomeranged to its idealistic birth.
Yes, spicy soul food and icing on this country cake.
And, of course, selling enough copies internationally to ensure another
Australian tour - maybe the summer of 2010.
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