If you do a Google search about the members of Sugarland parting ways and whether they are done for good or just taking a break, you will find nothing but interviews with both Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush insisting that it’s just a break so that they could both explore their own solo projects.
Before we dive into why we think they are done for good, it is interesting to see how they have each done as solo artists since the “break.” Jennifer Nettles released her solo album That Girl in January of 2014. The album did top the Country Albums chart, but to date, the album has only produced two singles with “That Girl” being the biggest “hit,” peaking at just #37 on the charts before she veered away from Country Music to try her hand in acting by starring in the Broadway musical “Chicago.”
Conversely, Kristian Bush took more time on his project, waiting more than a year after Nettles’ album dropped to release his album Southern Gravity in April of 2015. While it didn’t do as well as an album, only peaking at #16 on the Country Albums charts, it has produced the bigger hit single, as the catchy “Trailer Hitch” climbed up to #21 on the singles chart. He has just released the second single off the album, a song titled “Light Me Up.”
I was inspired to write this article because I am listening to Bush’s CD for the first time right now (I was pleasantly surprised and highly recommend it). As I often do when I rip open a new CD (yes, I’m old-school and don’t download my music…gotta have the physical copy in my hands), I like to read through the booklet to see who wrote the songs (he co-wrote all 12 tracks with mostly established “traditional” writers) and what they say in their credits.
This is where I found the biggest hints that Sugarland is no more. There is not a single mention of Sugarland or Jennifer Nettles in any of his liner notes. The closest he comes to POSSIBLY acknowledging the duo is a paragraph that states, “Songs and albums and careers don’t happen by themselves. I stand high on the shoulders of others, and in the light held up by many people in the shadows. Thank you to them all.” It’s POSSIBLE he was throwing a nod to Nettles as a shoulder he stood on, but not definite…it is open to interpretation.
He later goes on to write, “This is a first album. I hope you enjoy it. There will be more.” With Nettles focusing on her Broadway career, it seems that she has shown zero interest in “getting the band back together” anytime soon, if ever at all. The overall tone of the liner notes suggests that he is resigned to the fact that he’s on his own as a solo act from here on out.
Based on the how each of their singles have done so far, it may not be such a bad thing for Bush, who got less love as a duo partner than Kix Brooks did in Brooks & Dunn. At least Kix got to sing lead on a handful of hits! Bush is finally getting a chance to showcase his talents as a front-man instead of just being what amounted to being a background singer standing next to the lead singer.
Speaking of Brooks & Dunn, they are proof that anything is possible and that I could be wrong, as they have already reunited this past week to kick off their Vegas shows with Reba after it sounded like they were done for good at the time of their split.