new album released Oct 13th
Gold And Green
from the album - Holly Jolly Christmas
YouTube - Sugarland- Holly Jolly Christmas
Sugarland began as a trio of singer/songwriters from the Atlanta, GA, area, each of whom had some level of renown as a solo performer. Lead singer Jennifer Nettles had previously fronted Soul Miner's Daughter, and her gospel background and deep soul approach to country music makes her an ideal lead voice in the trio. Songwriter Kristen Hall had already released two solo albums on Windham Hill Records, while Kristian Bush was half (with Andrew Hyra) of the critically acclaimed duo Billy Pilgrim, which had also released a pair of albums. The trio began working together in 2002, self-releasing an EP of demo recordings (available online or at Sugarland shows) called Premium Quality Tunes that same year. After a series of phenomenal live shows began to build a buzz around the group, they were signed to Mercury Records, which released a two-song single ("Baby Girl" b/w "Stand Back Up") early in 2004, following it up with a Garth Fundis-produced full-length album, Twice the Speed of Life, that same year. A second full-length, Enjoy the Ride, was released by Mercury Nashville in 2006 and was a huge success, garnering attention in both pop and country quarters. Hall, obviously a gifted songwriter, was credited with working on only a single track on Enjoy the Ride, and her abrupt departure from the group in 2006, leaving Sugarland a duo, raised a few eyebrows. For Love on the Inside, they successfully lobbied Mercury to let them co-produce their own album and record in Georgia instead of Music City. The result is the most organic of Sugarland's three albums. In 2009, Sugarland exploded and became full fledged superstars. The year yielded them platinum status for Love on the Inside; a prime-time network television special called Live on the Inside (which resulted in a live album marketed in various packages); and, finally, their first Christmas recording, Gold and Green, which featured new holiday-themed originals as well as more traditional fare.
Georgia's Sugarland rose to great heights in 2009 -- their 2008 album Love on the Inside reached platinum status, they recorded a prime-time network television special called Live on the Inside, which was then released in numerous packages that all sold well, and the group has sold out live shows globally. Therefore it seems to make sense -- in Nashville's cynical and often crazy head -- for the group to release yet another stop-gap before the year runs out in lieu of a new studio album. Gold and Green is a hybrid holiday recording. It contains ten tracks, five of which are Christmas standards including a country boogie version of "Winter Wonderland," a "backwoods" (if anything Byron Gallimore, who co-produces with Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, had his hands on could ever be that rootsy) "O Come O Come Emmanuel," and a steeped-in-reverence acoustic version of "Silent Night," sung bilingually in Spanish and English. The other five cuts are originals themed for the holidays. One has to give Sugarland some marks for trying to do something different than a standard-issue Christmas album. The songs, however, aren't actually up to snuff. The set's opening track, "City of Silver Dreams," is an homage to New York City at Christmastime and a hard luck, love song. It doesn't work on either level. Nettles doesn't sound convincing in the least as a wide-eyed country girl seeing the sights in New York. As a broken love song, that theme is merely a half-baked afterthought. To make matters worse, the gradually building crescendo in the refrain is now such a Sugarland trademark, it's akin to a key after the bridges in a Barry Manilow tune. In other word, it's become a cliché. On "Comin' Home," Sugarland addresses Nettles' rhythm and blues roots to better results, complete with a gospel chorus in the refrains. (Even the mandolins in the track are there to make the song sound friendly to Nashville's radio bosses.) It's easily the best track here. "Maybe Baby," sung by Bush, sounds like a track left off Love on the Inside, and could have been performed by Bon Jovi. "Little Wood Guitar," written by Bush and Ellis Paul, is syrupy filler, pure and simple. So Gold and Green is a mixed bag in more ways than one. While everything Sugarland touches seems to turn the latter color of the album title in 2009, here they've sacrificed the real emotion in the songs on their first three studio albums for something that feels canned and pre-packaged. Gold and Green just feels like an obvious, cloying exercise in marketing, and holds little artistic merit.
1 City of Silver Dreams Bush, Carver, Nettles, Paul 04:18
2 Winter Wonderland Bernard, Smith 02:27
3 Holly Jolly Christmas Marks 03:06
4 Coming Home Bush, Nettles 03:33
5 Gold and Green Bush, Nettles 04:02
6 Maybe Baby (New Year's Day) Bieser, Bush, Nettles 05:02
7 Nuttin' for Christmas Roy C. Bennett, Tepper 03:24
8 O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Traditional 04:08
9 Little Wood Guitar Bush, Paul 04:12
10 Silent Night Traditional 03:22