Having duets at the American Country Music Awards was great in theory, and rough in execution. Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood were the only two artists to get it right. Tyler entered the stage singing Underwood’s Undo It, and Carrie Underwood later sang Tyler’s Walk This Way. This idea of artists crossing genres should have been consistent with each duet, but the producers missed the mark. Instead, you had Rihanna singing California King Bed with Sugarland‘s Jennifer Nettles, but Jennifer Nettles didn’t sing a song by Rihanna. To further confuse the theme, Brad Paisley sang with Alabama, who are being labeled in the press as “rockers,” even though they are both clearly country music artists. That’s not exactly crossing genres. The ACM producers should call American Idol producer Nigel Lythgoe to take some advice about executing performance themes. Watch Underwood and Tyler below.
Whenever an artist of a popular group goes solo, I assume it’s money motivated. Everyone knows that true “bands” split their tour proceeds, and in the case of Sugarland, 100% of the intake is far higher than 50%. Plus, lead singers have the unique advantage of ditching their band-mates who are far less likely to last without the face of their group. And while Jennifer Nettles might have pure intentions, I’m curious what Kristian Bush thinks. As for whether her solo album, ‘That Girl,’ can stand up to her Sugarland tunes, it’s difficult to compare. Sure she has Zeus on her side (also known as powerhouse Producer Rick Rubin), but the record is slightly schizophrenic. The up-tempo tracks that have become Sugarland’s staple are gone, in favor of sweet yet forgettable songs that feel slightly dated. There are certainly gems sprinkled throughout, but there just aren’t enough of them. Perhaps she didn’t stand a chance with The Dishmaster, given my love for Sugarland, but when you’ve already struck gold, why change your tools? Listen to one of her better tracks below.