Ennjoy the ride Follow-up to the Multi-Platinum selling debut, Twice The Speed Of Life. Sugarland has received a Grammy nomination, an American Music Award for ''Breakthrough Favorite New Artist'', an ACM award for ''New Duo/Group of the Year''. They have performed on The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, the Radio Music Awards, Grammy's, CMA's, ACM's, CMT Awards, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve special, the season finale of Las Vegas and garnered the highestrated CMT Crossroads with Bon Jovi. This group is poised to release Enjoy The Ride to eager fans all over.
One of country's fastest-rising acts, Sugarland arrive at their follow-up to 2004's triple-platinum Twice the Speed of Life
in a considerably altered state. Chief songwriter and founding member Kristen Hall is gone, and producer Garth Fundis (Trisha Yearwood) has been usurped in favor of crossover hitmaker Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill). One could argue that these are the predictable results of success--by opening for such megastars as Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn, the Atlanta-based trio was forced to retool its organic, singer-songwriter, folk-rock sound to fill arenas. And while their intricate vocal harmonies added a subtle creative dimension to their debut, Enjoy the Ride
is made up mostly of songs ("County Line," "Mean Girls") constructed to showcase lead singer Jennifer Nettles's big voice in ways the previous album did not. While the repertoire was written by Nettles and surviving partner Kristian Bush in collaboration with proven songsmiths Bobby Pinson, Lisa Carver, and Tim Owens, much of the wistful intimacy of the first album is now diminished. Furthermore, it seems foolish to now call this act a duo, as Bush receives very little time in the spotlight apart from his vocal harmonies and performance on guitar and mandolin. None of this should matter on the charts, however, since the real focus was always on Nettles, whose twangy, force-field soprano more than carries the day. As before, the lyrics are upbeat and positive--if the message of the first album was of flight and searching, the theme here is of digging in. The winsome Nettles does a fine job of selling it all, positioning herself as the Ambassador of Optimism, the Deep South successor to Jo Dee Messina. --Alanna Nash