From the very first time I heard Sugarland playing on the radio, I was obsessed with Jennifer Nettles and her unique, emotive voice. Both with Sugarland and on her own, she possesses a quality that few singers can completely embody, the ability to pull you in with her voice alone and allow you to feel every joy and pain and fear with her. Every time I’ve seen her live she does the very same thing, losing herself in the music and, in turn, encouraging her audience to do the same. There have been times at Sugarland shows that I’ve found myself in tears, not even knowing before that moment that I connected with that particular song in that way, but Jennifer had the power to draw it out of me.
The very same thing can be said of her solo performances. From the moment she stepped out on the stage at Stagecoach she was lost in the music, the emotions and tribulations radiated from her, letting everyone in the audience come along on her solo journey. She played songs offer her solo venture, “That Girl” including the rhythmic title track that she stepped out on stage with, immediately getting the crowd interested and grooving. Other selections from the album included the powerful anthem of independence (also her new single) “Me Without You,” giving us all a beautiful moment of vocal intensity that only Nettles can accomplish. The stripped down “Falling” and rambling “Jealousy” followed, making for a solid selection of tracks off her solo album that showed off the multiple facets of her talent in a truly astonishing way. Being a Sugarland fan from way back, I couldn’t contain my excitement when she launched into “Baby Girl,” one of my absolutely favorite tracks off their debut album.
Overall, everything that Jennifer Nettles did right with Sugarland, she continues to accomplish on her own. Though her music might be a little more laid back, a little less hooky, it is crafted to allow her to shine where she needs to the most; her vocals.
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