Spotlight On Sugarland Concert At The Ashley Furniture
Homestore Pavilion in Phoenix, Arizona
photos by Glenda S. Paradee
performed on May 26, 2012 at the Ashley Furniture Homestore Pavilion
in Phoenix, Arizona to a near sold out show.
tour is titled "In The Hand Of The Fans Tour". The concert was
sure in the hands of the audience as they helped decide which songs
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush would perform.
It was a beautiful night in Arizona and the crowd
really enjoyed when they came out on stage with Jennifer playing a
big beautiful while drum and Kristian accompanying her on a gorgeous
guitar with a gigantic back drop of a rainbow colored
They performed "Stuck Like Glue",
"Settlin'", "It Happens", "Incredible Machine", "Want To" and
Sugarland also welcomed Kylie McBride, a 12-year old, from
the audience to help them sing "Everyday America."
also had special appearances by Jennifer singing partners from the
ABC television show, "Duets" which included partner J. Rome singing
"Tonight" with her. Later in the show Nettles' other "Duets"
partner, John Glosson, joined her and Bush on the song,
"Stay." The crowd loved it.
Fans were able to
make special requests using text messages and and Sugarland's
website leading up to Saturday's show. Handwritten signs with
song titles were passed up to the stage and Nettles and Bush picked
songs to do off the signs. The songs they picked to sing were
"Fly Away", "Take Me As I Am" and also "Joey."
they performed "Love", Kristian held up a handmade flag with LOVE
written on it and swung it back and forth to the beat and then put
it on his guitar of a few moments.
Sugarland had local
singer Mary Hoffman from Mesa, Arizona perform with them on "Baby
Girl." Hoffman submitted an audition video to the Sugarland's
website and won the Sing With Sugarland
Sugarland ended the evening with a three song
encore which included "These Are the Days," "Something More," and
Nettles then said, "We're always going to
remember this night and we hope you guys remember
It was a fantastic show.
were Canaan Smith and Lauren Alaina. They both put on great
More on Sugarland:
To hear Jennifer Nettles tell it, it's a brand new day in
Sugarland. Despite winning multiple Grammy, CMA and ACM awards and
selling more than 8 million records the country-music duo of Nettles
and Kristian Bush is embracing a creative rebirth, a musical
awakening that permeates their adventurous fourth album, The
"We are in a place of discovery," Jennifer says. "It is the
essence of who we are as people in this band. There is never a
moment where we think, 'This is good enough.' There's always a place
A growth that Kristian says has been encouraged by their fans,
their record label, and, most importantly, by the genre-bending,
all-are-welcome country-music industry. "It's as if the industry and
the culture have singled out the biggest risks we've taken on a
record, a song like 'Stay' for example, and celebrated those," he
says gratefully. "They've embraced us at those times. We've tried to
learn from that and this is what we've made."
And what they've created is a dynamic masterwork. Co-written and
co-produced in full by Jennifer and Kristian, The Incredible Machine
is a soaring album elevated by sky-high choruses, ringing guitars,
and pulsing drums that recall the beating of the album's titular
engine, the human heart.
Kristian describes it as a collection of anthems and there may be
no greater understatement. If the duo was searching for the grander
side of country on their last record, the double platinum Love on
the Inside, they've obviously found it on The Incredible Machine.
From the fanfare of the album's opener "All We Are" to Jennifer's
sublime piano-ballad closer "Shine the Light," this is an album
built for stadiums.
"This record is designed to play in very large places and to
communicate with a large group of people," Kristian confirms. "When
you have an instrument as powerful and as graceful as Jennifer's
voice, you don't want to tip-toe in. You really go for it! And those
types of songs are often where Jennifer and I intersect
In fact, the pair found shared inspiration in the iconic music
and films of the 1980s, their growing-up years. "We allowed
ourselves to play with our influences," Jennifer admits. As such,
the coming-of-age movies by director John Hughes and songs by
Blondie, Peter Gabriel, The Pretenders and even The Clash all helped
fire up the Machine. "When we were writing, we asked what if John
Hughes were making movies now.... Who would be on the soundtrack?"
Kristian says, going on to connect the dots between rebellious
country and rebellious rock. "If you dig far enough you're going to
see that The Clash and Johnny Cash had a lot in common. I like to
live right where those guys meet."
In a song like the joyous "Find the Beat Again," for instance,
Jennifer reminds the heavy-hearted among us that nothing lasts
forever, while Kristian's siren-like guitar sound a technique he
adapted from The Clash, he says pushes the song toward its
Or the call-to-arms "Stand Up," in which the band exhorts
listeners to "use your voice." A tale of personal empowerment, the
track is almost heroic in its message. It's also one of two songs on
the album to showcase Kristian's voice. "I don't know how many
people have really ever heard me sing before," he says of his lead
verse. "For fans of the band, it's like a whole new layer is peeled
"All We Are" is equally triumphant. A rallying cry of sorts, it
culminates in a mass of melodies folding upon one another. The
result is breathtaking, a musical equation so intricate that it
solidifies the duo's ability to write complex fare as well as
breezy, winking tunes like first single "Stuck like Glue."
"We write songs for different reasons. There are some songs that
we want to change your life and there are some that we just want to
change your day. That's what 'Stuck like Glue' is," Jennifer laughs.
"We don't take ourselves too seriously, and that's what fans
They also flock to Jennifer's knack for finding the voice of
everywoman or even everyman. One of Sugarland's many gifts is their
ability to write lyrics that transcend gender, like in their 2004
breakout hit "Baby Girl." On The Incredible Machine, the proof is in
the acoustic "Little Miss," a profile of a woman who tries to handle
everything, all by herself. "I saw my mom as that person. I see
pieces of it in my own daughter. Jennifer is certainly one of those
women," Kristian says.
Aside from the powerhouse rocker "Wide Open," written
specifically for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, "Little Miss" is one
of the record's earliest penned tracks. "We were at a festival over
a year ago and I was on the bus doing my makeup while Kristian was
warming up," recalls Jennifer. "I was wearing a checkered dress and
he started playing this lick and singing, 'Little Miss checkered
dress.' I popped my head out and sang, 'Little Miss one big mess!'
The way that song was discovered was fun and really beautiful."
And the band is confident that fans, old and new alike, will have
a similar experience as they discover the gears and cogs of The
Incredible Machine a country record, a pop record, an anthem record,
a ballad record, but above all, an authentic record.
"It's just the two of us," says Kristian. "In the story of who we
are, this album is more us than we've ever been."
Jennifer agrees and says the band's rebirth is best summed up in
the gentle, searching words of the album's title track: Feels like
I'm flying, wings made of light/brand new and shinin', like a shot
rung out through the night.
"That's a wonderful metaphor and image for this newly emerging
creature that Sugarland is right now, with these vulnerable but
beautiful wings. The Incredible Machine is definitely us, but at the
same time, there is something very precious and new," she says. "And
we want to show it to the world!"
Check out Sugarlands' website at: http://www.sugarlandmusic.com/
For The Music Sugarland!