Sugarland is a shot at the big-time for a trio of singer/songwriters who have languished on the outskirts of country and folk for the better part of a decade. Kristen Hall had a career of her own as a recording artist, Kristian Bush was in Billy Pilgrim, and Jennifer Nettles is the new discovery, previously fronting Soul Miner's Daughter, who never had recorded. With her powerful, soulful voice sounding a bit like a mainstream, country-oriented Shelby Lynne, Nettles is the frontwoman in Sugarland, and she gives the trio sex and commercial appeal, turning the professionally crafted songs on the group's debut, Twice the Speed of Life, into something that's charmingly mainstream. Hall may have been stuck playing in the folk circuit and Bush may have had little more than a cult following, but both have considerable skills as writers, crafting sturdy, melodic songs reminiscent of a streamlined, pop-ready, less quirky Dixie Chicks. If there's any flaw with Twice the Speed of Life, it's that it plays it a little too safe, fitting too comfortably into the confines of contemporary country radio, but it does its job so well, it's hard to complain. Besides, once Sugarland finds an audience with this debut, the group will be able to stretch out on the second record. Based on how solid Twice the Speed of Life is, they'll likely find fans who will be eager to hear how they grow.
Twice the Speed of Life Review
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine