Their first joint appearance since 2012, the moment had many wondering if Sugarland was finally reuniting after their five-year hiatus. While the duo had hinted that they would come back together when the timing was right, their awards show appearance in November set the ball in motion. “There was never a time we thought it was a thing of the past,” Nettles recently told members of the industry during a rehearsal for their 2018 Still the Same Tour in Nashville. “We always said from the beginning that we left that door open. We just continued to walk the truth that we knew and to do what we wanted to do and we are doing that still.”
Since announcing their hiatus, Nettles and Bush have kept busy creating music separately. As Nettles explains, the intention of their pause as a duo was to go and “fill our cups in other ways: as human beings, as artists, as craftsmen and women.”
Both Nettles and Bush achieved this with countless side projects. Nettles released three solo albums — 2014’s That Girl, 2016’s Playing with Fire and To Celebrate Christmas — while Bush dropped 2015’s Southern Gravity. Additionally, Bush served as producer for both Lindsay Ell’s debut album, The Project, as well as Tyler Farr, while Nettles pursued Broadway and television roles including Chicago and Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.
“We have come back with really full cups in terms of there are things that we can do in Sugarland that we can’t do on our own and there are things that we can do on our own that we can’t do in Sugarland, and there’s this beautiful symbiosis where one feeds the other,” Nettles tells Sounds Like Nashville, seated on the arm of a couch beside Bush during a recent press day.
“So, we’ve come back with full cups, not only of life and experience, but to be able to look at each other and go, ‘Oh my God! And what about this, and what about this?’” she says excitedly. “We’re also in a very ripe time, in terms of the world and in terms of our country, where we have had a lot to say that we can only say in this specific way that Sugarland does so well. So that has also been a beautiful discovery of the reasons and the timing for coming back together that I’ve enjoyed.”
As Nettles talks, Bush nods his head in agreement. At times, they finish each other’s sentences like the old friends they are and occasionally grab hands when praising the other’s talents. When asked how Bush’s past experience as a producer helped Sugarland’s new album, Bigger, out June 8, Nettles waves her left arm in the air and exclaims, “Let me answer! Let me answer!” as she reaches for his hand.
“This is part of what I’m saying when I say we’ve each gone and filled our cup and gained many things and new skills. Kristian came in with all these fantastic skills that he had crafted and honed within himself over the past five years in terms of being a producer,” Nettles marvels. “Even where technology is concerned and writing, the things that he was able to come in with — musical ideas that already had a groove, already had the bass and the drums — so there were all these pieces that were already efficiently there, that he brought in and knowing how to do based on all the work he’s done in between.” I want to be remembered for storytelling and for stories that touch people…
When the two bandmates began discussing their return, they say it wasn’t one specific moment that initiated things. Instead, it was more of a series of questions and answers: “Does the calendar work? Are you even interested? Can we write together?”
“Where I usually start the story is about right there which is, ‘Sure, maybe we ought to sit down and write. Just in case, you know? See what happens,’” Bush explains. “And the really great part of that beginning is we literally sat down and wrote a song that you are literally listening to as a first single. That is the first song, that is the first moment. So there’s something really unique about you going on this journey with us at the same time. You’re listening to ‘Still the Same’ about as many times as I have.”
Sugarland wrote most of the album in New York and Bush says when they first met to create what would become “Still the Same,” they sat on the floor and began throwing out ideas. “When you hear it, it’s an account. It’s like, ‘Well, where do we start? We haven’t done this in so long. Well, how about we start right here where we are? What does it feel like to walk in this door after all this time? You’ve been carrying this around; walk in the door and lay it down. Let’s meet in this moment where we are.’ And that’s the song,” Nettles recalls. The lyric that they built the song around was “Your future is your history.” Nettles initially said the line and Bush loved it and wondered how they could make that the song. They then built the track up from there.
“There’s a lot of instinct that happened on that song that, I think, played out over the months that followed. But the real beautiful part for me was just seeing that the instincts were all there,” Bush says with a smile. Sugarland are well known for penning songs with a message and Bigger is no different. On their 11-track album there are songs that touch upon the countless school shootings throughout the nation, female empowerment, the #MeToo movement, and an all-encompassing love. Nettles further explains how it has always been important for Sugarland to translate pain into hope within their music.
We don’t like to preach but we do send messages of love and hope.
“I think it’s one of the things that music can do best. Music does it in a way that no other medium does. I think it can really speak right to the heart,” she says. “And I think, along with that, there’s a bit of responsibility. Dare I say, that it’s a calling. A powerful part of this whole album are those sorts of messages, and that it is pain into hope. Music is transformative in that way and there is a lot of pain happening right now.”
One of the album’s standout moments is “Tuesday’s Broken,” which Bush and Nettles penned together. Inspired after one of the many school shootings in the U.S., Nettles opens the song with whispered vocals as she questions how to explain these events to her son. “Yesterday hell rained down / Another kid, another school in another town / I think about how to tell my son and I think about how that one got a gun,” she sings.
“What do you do as a parent? [This] was Kristian’s initial inspiration behind the first verse. How do we talk to our children about these heavy, dark things?” Nettles asks. “I had read an article by a woman named Ruby Sales, who is a Civil Rights activist. In it she said, ‘We should be asking each other the question, in these painful political times, where does it hurt?’ Because everything is so polarized right now I thought, ‘This is a great time for that.’ Meaning, this verse is a great time for that overarching message so let’s put those together.”
The song also touches upon social media becoming a major culprit in teenage suicide and how instead of ignoring these issues, parents should start to ask, “Where does it hurt?”
“What if we tried to reach them with words? / What if we looked in their eyes and asked where does it hurt? / Would they find all they were worth? / Monday was hoping / Don’t leave it unspoken / Tuesday’s broken,” Nettles belts on the song’s final chorus.
Bush says the song has given him an opportunity to have important conversations with his own son and daughter about online bullying, teen suicide, and school shootings. Sugarland hope the song opens up the dialogue between adults as well.
“It’s less about the guns and it’s more about the kids. What I love about that song from a writer perspective is that it doesn’t seem that we’re going to pour gasoline on anything. We’re just asking questions about kids that matter,” Bush notes. Another powerful track is “Mother.” The soaring and personal ballad has Nettles singing of the supportive role a mother often plays on a child’s life.
“She fixes all the broken things / When you’re in love she’s got a ring / To give to you she hopes you give away / She don’t care who you give it to / Where they’re from, if they pray like you / As long as they are good to you that’s enough / First thing she taught you was love is love,” she sings on the inspiring ballad.
“We wanted to celebrate what we feel is so beautiful about mothers, what we have in our own mothers, and what we see that is beautiful about that relationship and that kind of unconditional, open-ended love,” Nettles explains. “Within country music, we have such a lovely opportunity because we have such a broad fan base and a broad demographic. To be able to offer messages of how we see the world, hopefully might inspire people that if they don’t see it that way maybe they might ask a question.”
She adds, “Your mama might not have been that way but she should have. What she wants most for you is somebody that’s good for you and good to you. It doesn’t matter how somebody prays. It doesn’t matter who they are. The ‘love is love’ line, obviously being a beautiful motto for the LGBTQ community as well, we wanted to include that in there. In a time where religion and sexual orientation are sometimes hot buttons for people, we wanted to talk about the love piece of that from a mom and what’s really important.”
Bush further explains that while there is a lot of messaging in the album, Sugarland doesn’t go about it in a preachy way. As a result, the lyrics aren’t yelling at the listener but instead talking to them.
“When we get in a room and write, we’re completely aware of who might be listening and how to reach their heart instead of how to set them off. Go on and calm everybody down and then hug them and then remind them that their mother would be sorely disappointed in them if they started to hate,” he adds.
For the first time in their career, Sugarland has recorded an outside song on their album. “Babe,” the duo’s new single, was penned by Taylor Swift and Train’s Pat Monahan. As Nettles recalls, they received a phone call from Swift, who said she had a song she’d love for them to listen to.
“We started out together with Taylor around the same time, except she was 15 and we were not 15. But not far!” Nettles jokes ahead of performing “Babe” at their tour rehearsal. “At the time we had a little unsigned EP that she still has that we autographed for her. We’ve been mutual fans and admirers of each other. When she heard we were getting back together she was excited and said that she had a song and would we be interested in it. We said, ‘Yes, of course!’ and wanted to do it the most justice and recorded it. She loved it when she heard it and wanted to be a part of it.”
In addition to “Babe,” the album’s anthemic title track will prove another memorable moment in Sugarland’s live show. A song that Nettles credits as being cathartic, “Bigger” is an empowering song with an uplifting message of self-acceptance that features the singer’s rapid fire singing style within the bridge as she belts, “They think they’re big, but you’re bigger.”
“We talked about, in terms of what it is to be a woman or what it is to be a father of a daughter, what kinds of messages do we want to offer our girls and what kinds of support do we want to offer each other as women? And, what sort of changes do we want to offer to the world as humans?” Nettles explains. “We’re seeing, especially with the #MeToo movement, so many ways that we are evolving.”
She adds those two lines of the bridge, “they think they’re big, but you’re bigger,” will hopefully remind people, and more importantly remind young girls, of their worth.
Now in the midst of their 2018 Still the Same Tour, Sugarland promise that the trek will include the countless hits their fans know and love as well as some of the new material from Bigger. As Nettles assures, each show will be “encapsulated in a transformative musical environment.”
While it has been a long five years for Sugarland fans anxiously awaiting the reemergence of the duo, Bush and Nettles prove that they are, in fact, still the same. Their time away allowed them to focus on their individual passions and inspirations. As a result, their return shows that their bond and musicianship is stronger than ever. While some things may have changed for Sugarland, they hope the messages within their songs continue to inspire and to leave a lasting mark on listeners.
“I want to be remembered for storytelling and for stories that touch people and connect them to themselves and to each other. Mostly, I want them to be reminded of what they want to become,” Nettles concedes. “Sometimes we think about that or sometimes that becomes more clear when we think about where we’ve been. Sometimes we like to celebrate that nostalgia. For the most part, we don’t like to preach but we do send messages of love and hope. I hope that we are able to leave that behind.”
Ell just released her new full-length record titled The Project, which debuted at No. 1 on the Nielsen Soundscan Current Country Albums Chart. Its most recent single “Waiting on You” is a soulful ballad co-written by the artist and reveals her melancholy romantic side, which also comes through in its music video. She recently performed it on Jimmy Kimmel Live alongside another new song, “Champagne,” and couple of covers.
It seems like some promoters are using social media and dot com websites to make promises that they cannot possibly fulfill. Promises like guaranteed #1 spots in the charts, guaranteed high paying bookings, help in finding corporate sponsorship, are just a few promises circulating all over the Internet from these promotion companies. If it was as simple as handing someone a few hundred dollars then can’t you see everyone that thinks they can sing and has a savings account that they would all be stars? If you are asked to give up your hard earned money to a person who says they can make you rich or make you world famous because of your super talent, then please contact that person’s other clients and see how well they are doing. I am not saying by any means that every promoter is crooked or hasn’t done some good for their clients. I am simply saying it is not as simple as they indicate it is.
– The Music City Ghost [File#2018/16]
Potso lived in the gray shingle house two doors up the street from me.
His real name was Robert Stanley.
I don’t know how he got the nickname “Potso”.
He was Potso when I got there.
He was a couple of years younger than the rest of us kids,
and not very good at sports,
but he tried.
His cheeks were red, and his nose ran a lot,
especially in the winter.
It’s hard to be cool when your nose is running.
I don’t know who tagged him with “Potso”,
but I don’t think any of us meant it in a mean way.
Mr. Pennell, a neighborhood dad, made a rock garden in his backyard,
and decorated it with cement imitation stones.
Each stone was engraved with the name of one of us kids.
“Potso” was there in a place of honor.
I can tell you this: If anybody picked on our “Potso”,
they’d have to deal with us.
As a couple of years went by,
Potso began suggesting that we call him Robert.
I think it was his mother’s idea.
She was a pretty and intelligent lady,
but I didn’t realize that until later.
We tried to remember to call him Robert,
but habits are hard to break.
Robert’s father was everybody’s handyman,
doing simple chores up and down the street.
My parents said he was “shell-shocked”.
He was a sweet, childlike man, who smiled, but never talked much.
He walked with a slightly unsure gait.
The Stanley’s were the object of quiet sympathy.
Sympathy can hurt.
One day we were all shocked to hear that Mr. Stanley had died.
Kids aren’t used to death.
I don’t remember when Robert and his mother moved away.
A few years later,
I got a Christmas season job jumping on and off a delivery truck
while the driver sat in the warm cab,
smoking cigars and drinking something
from a bottle he carried in a paper bag.
One cold afternoon, we were delivering in a section of town
that was a step or two classier than where I lived.
I went up the porch steps of the two-story brick house,
and rang the upstairs doorbell.
Robert Stanley answered the door.
He looked different.
I think he was on his way out
because he was wearing expensive looking clothes,
with a camel hair fingertip length topcoat.
He still had the rosy cheeks, but his nose wasn’t running.
I was happy to see him, and started a conversation.
His mother came down the stairs behind him
and told him he’d better hurry.
She was polite, but I could feel she wasn’t really glad to see me.
I felt a little slighted, but after I thought it over I realized this:
They had their new life where nobody felt sorry for them.
She didn’t want him to be Potso anymore.
© 2009, 2018.
In a swipe to his successor Donald Trump, who often refers to criticism as “fake news”, Obama warned of the dire consequences of an era where social media has contributed to the dissemination of mis- and disinformation.
“Denial of facts is contrary to democracy. In fact, it may undo it,” Obama warned.
His message in front of thousands of South Africans at a packed Wanderers cricket stadium in Johannesburg was relevant to a country recovering from the devastating consequences of decades of colonialism and apartheid, and the misrule of the Jacob Zuma administration, marred by corruption and minimal growth.
As the country is grappling with issues of economic transformation, land reform, rampant corruption, Obama’s message to South Africa was well timed: if you believe in democracy and freedom, now is the time to stand up for what Mandela fought for.
The alternative is ghastly: a country run by racist, strongmen leaders who do not care about human rights and are only in it for themselves. At times, it felt as if Obama was giving South Africa tips how to avoid electing a Trump-like leader. The statesman is obviously very worried about what is unfolding back home.
Sounds familiar? Obama’s speech was full of references to Trump, without mentioning him by name once.
– News24 (Pictures Google)
In 1986, an almost clean-cut Alan Jackson gripped a gold microphone and sang a cover of George Jones’ “He Stopped Lovin’ Her Today” for the live audience and viewers of TNN’s You Can Be a Star.
Keith Stegall the man who would go on to produce and write many of Jackson’s songs — was on stage as a judge for the televised singing competition, which was a precursor to shows like Nashville Star. It was the first time Stegall heard the future star.
Perhaps more entertaining than Jackson’s schoolboy haircut is that the host introduces him only as “Al.” Within three years of this clip, he would release his debut album, Here in the Real World, as Alan Jackson. A few years later, the name ‘Alan’ would become a one-name moniker, much like Garth, Kenny and Shania. Jackson has gone on to one of the biggest careers in country music history — and he’s done it all without compromising the traditional country roots that established his sound in the first place.
With that buttery voice, it’s hard to believe that Al Jackson wouldn’t have been just as successful.
Does your back hurt? Most people complain of back pain at some point because our lower back bears the weight of the upper body. Aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility and good posture can relieve back pain. Research reveals that regular exercise reduces stiffness in the connective fibres and keeps the tendons flexible. Exercise also keeps your discs “spongy” by reducing the swelling in soft tissues. When you don’t exercise, the swelling in these soft tissues may increase. The good news is that exercising for your back is simpler than you think! No need to carve out hours a day for a strenuous workout; back-strengthening exercises can be done quickly and easily.
Stretch it out
Whatever your current workout, add a few minutes for stretches. Stretching improves flexibility, which improves your posture, and a good posture is essential for a strong and healthy back. Try a yoga stretch such as the downward dog. Stand on a non-slip mat and bend over. Flatten your palms shoulder-width apart on the mat. Straighten your arms, pushing your palms down into the mat. Push your hips as far back as you can, creating a triangle shape from your hands to your hips. Don’t tense your jaw! Try this exercise at the end of your day to help you relax.
Get up from you screen ever 30 minutes
A study by Temple University in America found that the average person spends nine hours hunched over a screen each day! That is a long time for your back to take strain. Stick a post-it note on your cubicle to remind you to take a break every 30 minutes.
Stomach in, shoulders back
Right now, in your chair, pull in your stomach muscles and straighten your shoulders. A strong core is vital for a strong back. In the car, place a cushion at your back to keep you upright instead of slumping forward.
Sort out your workspace
Is your computer at eye level? Does your chair offer good lumbar support? If not, place a rolled-up towel or cushion at the small of your back. Add height by placing your laptop on a stand so that you look straight at the screen.
Set an hourly phone reminder to sit upright with feet placed firmly on the ground. Place a pillow under both knees when you sleep on your back. This little trick helps your spine stay in alignment and cushions your hips, reducing the stress on your joints. Before you get into bed, stretch out your back, neck and shoulders. Do the same when you wake up.
As former US president Barack Obama prepares to return to South Africa, (where over 100,000 whites have been murdered because of who they are) for the first time since he left office, ahead of next week’s annual Nelson Mandela lecture, he has paid homage to some of Africa’s best writers. In honour of former President Nelson Mandela’s centenary next week, the annual lecture will focus on “Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World”.
Ahead of the lecture, Obama wrote on his Facebook page that he was proud to have visited Africa more often than any other sitting president before him.
He praised the continent for its “wonderful diversity, thriving culture, and remarkable stories”. “In South Africa, the Obama Foundation will convene 200 extraordinary young leaders from across the continent and I’ll deliver a speech to mark the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth,” he wrote.
“Kenya, of course, is the Obama ancestral home. I visited for the first time when I was in my twenties and I was profoundly influenced by my experiences – a journey.”
Obama never mentions a word about the ongoing Genocide In South Africa so it can only be assumed that he is OK with it. Please take the time to voice our opinion below ……..
The American Idol 2018 auditions with new judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie weighing in on the hopefuls. One particular singer of interest was 18-year-old Georgia boy Caleb Lee Hutchinson, who wowed the panel with what might be the successor to 2011’s champ Scotty McCreery.
“My dad was always listening to Waylon, and Merle Haggard, and all that, so those were my men growing up,” Hutchinson informed the panel before performing. Perry piped up with, “Who are your heroes today in music?” To which Hutchinson answered, “He’s pretty good, you know,” with a gesture toward Bryan. The teen then gave an impression of Bryan, imitating a radio callout for Atlanta station 94.9 The Bull. “That’s pretty good,” mused Bryan, and repeated it back.
“That’s pretty close,” replied Hutchinson. “I think I might do it a little better. I think I might sound more like the guy!”
From there, he launched into his song, which didn’t sound anything like “the guy” at all. Instead of going for an upbeat party vibe, Hutchinson chose the bleak-flavored Chris Stapleton-penned composition “If It Hadn’t Been For Love,” handling the tune with a deep-voiced, steady confidence and strumming an acoustic guitar for accompaniment. It wasn’t a far stretch to compare him to another famous teenage contestant—namely, McCreery, who performed a few deep-toned Josh Turner numbers on the competition some seven years ago.
This didn’t go unnoticed by the judges. “Your voice is well above your age,” raved Richie, while Perry noted his unique vibrato technique. Bryan noted he had a “big, big voice,” but cautioned against overusing the vibrato.
All in all it was an easy unanimous “yes” vote, which resulted in Hutchinson ditching the vibrato for a victorious whoop. American Idol airs Mondays and Tuesdays at 8PM ET/PT, and we’ll be keeping an eye on how Luke does…as well as standout performances.
If you have never been to The Pat Garrett Amphitheater, we have a world class stage, 102′ Wide and 40′ Deep, with a 35′ High Roof. set in a beautiful well groomed grassy field, at the foothills of the Blue Mountains for your listening pleasure. Located at the intersection of Routes 78 & 183.
“Its a beautiful venue, in a peaceful well groomed country setting.” Pat Garrett
Strausstown, Exit 19, just off Route 78, on the North West Corner. Entrance 500 yards North on Route 183. On Site Parking ! We have great variety tasty food an beverage vendors. Beer & Wine & Mixed Drinks served on premises, at reasonable prices, sorry coolers not permitted.
“GTLO” will be appearing again at the Pat Garrett Amphitheater this summer on July 14th. It is their 4th time back here, and the crowd keeps getting larger each time ! They are a great show, don’t miss it. We are also looking forward to a new show, Tusk & Eaglemania On June 16th, Eagles and Fleetwood Mac tribute bands both the greatest ! Looking forward to hearing and seeing them. Also the Pinnacle Jam, July 28th, with bands ” A Box of Rain” “Miz” and “MIstery Train” it will be Rockin’ On September 15th “Echos” returns, a Pink Floyd tribute with a great light show. Awesome. The Berks Pepper Jam performed on May 26th & 27th and again on June 30th for The Berks Wine Festival.
You can save $5.00 on the Music show Tickets, buy buying advance tickets at the Sheepskin Shop, no service charge on tickets for cash sales, credit card sales $2.00 service fee.
On Stage VIP balcony Tickets Available too, which gives you a roof and chair on the stage, and free range of the entire Amphitheater. Folks sitting in the grassy field should bring a lawn chair.
To see more about the Amphitheater, ticket prices, and other ticket outlets, visit our web site at http://www.pgamp.com
Look forward to seeing you this summer 2018., at Berks County’s WOODSTOCK.
We are at the Sheepskin Shop Everyday 8am to 6pm / Route 78 &183 Exit 19 Strausstown, PA / Gps Address: 8373 Rte 183 Bethel, PA 19507 / Call us at 610-488-1782 / Visit our Website www.sheepcoat.com Please share this email with your friends that love music in a peaceful setting.