Although there is already a long list of great albums that have been released this year, Southern Gravity, Kristian Bush’s first solo album apart from Sugarland, just may end up being the most pleasant surprise of 2015.
First of all, lets address some of the elephants in the room. Frankly, the biggest surprise of the album is the discovery that Kristian Bush can actually sing. Without the long shadow of the Powerhouse Jennifer Nettles, Bush has a chance to find his literal and figurative voice and it’s a good one.
Additionally, whether it was deserved or not, Bush had developed the reputation of being the intense, mysterious half of Sugarland. So, another surprise is that the album is relaxed and accessible and avoids drowning in over thinking or overproduction. With that said, the final surprise is that the album is more country than we had heard from Sugarland in quite some time.
Kristian Bush of Sugarland released his debut solo album this year, and the buzz on it has been good.
Good enough, in fact, to inspire its own Daily Top Five!
What are your favorite solo singles by artists famous for being in a duo or group?
For my list, I stuck to singles from their first solo projects, but feel free to break that rule!
- Radney Foster, “Nobody Wins” (Foster & Lloyd)
- Wynonna, “She is His Only Need” (The Judds)
- Larry Stewart, “Alright Already” (Restless Heart)
- Ronnie Dunn, “Bleed Red” (Brooks & Dunn)
- Heidi Newfield, “What am I Waiting For?” (Trick Pony)
Written by Brandon Bush, Kristian Bush, and Tim Owen
It’s not entirely without precedent. When Diana Ross left the Supremes, their first single without her did better than her first solo release. Ringo Starr managed to score two #1 pop hits before John Lennon reached the top as a solo act. Peter Gabriel was supposed to be the indispensable talent of Genesis, but they did better when they gave Phil Collins the mic. Even country acts like Highway 101 and Restless Heart have seen the same phenomenon occur.
I ran across the following quote attributed to Kristian Bush (of Sugarland) in an article in the U.K. newspaper The Independent, frankly titled: “Far from the old country music: Nashville is making yet another attempt to conquer the UK charts with artists who have crossed over so far they are virtually mainstream.”
Bush can barely hide his impatience at alt.country’s arrogance. “The songs that will survive 40 years from now will have to do, not with their excellence at how they interpreted post-modern Appalachia, but how they interpreted the human condition. And in the end, as much as I’m a huge Wilco fan, no one’s going to remember them. They’re going to remember Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” – because that story is true. There’ll be another girl sitting at a window who’s kissed someone and that song speaks to her. And really, [Wilco and ex-Uncle Tupelo singer-songwriter] Jeff Tweedy singing about being lonely and poor and dumped, all these things which he is not…
“There are only so many thirtysomethings who’ll emotionally connect to style over substance, which a lot of [modern] Appalachian stuff is. I’m a huge Gillian Welch fan, but she’s from Malibu, California. I’m from Dolly Parton’s hometown Sevierville, Tennessee. I should be playing what she’s playing, according to our histories. Our song “Baby Girl” deals with some sort of human archetype, anyway, a story of the hero. It just rings differently in your bones. Country music is unafraid of that human substance.”
Without intending to pick on Bush (and still disbelieving that Katy Perry has a tag on Country Universe), do you agree with him?