Sugarland tickets for the Friday, April 11 concert at the Asheville Civic Center were being listed on ebay for the “buy it now” price of $199. Steep, especially for buyer “19711977” who is now holding a pair of passes to a postponed show. (Rest assured, those tickets are good for the Saturday, Sept. 13 rescheduled date.)
Then again, that $100 ticket price is proof, of a sort, of just how far mainstream country duo Sugarland has come in a few short years. The group got its start in Atlanta five years ago, the brainchild of singer/songwriter Kristen Hall, who left the band in 2006. Since then, it’s been a duo with remaining members Kristian Bush (vocals, mandolin and guitar — and a guy despite the misleading “K”) and lead vocalist Jennifer Nettles.
All of the group’s members cut their teeth on the early 1990s Atlanta folk-rock scene (think Indigo girls) and — I’m privy to this little nugget — Bush actually sat in as lead singer for now-defunct Macon alt-country act Gypsy Train after their front man (to whom I’m married) jumped ship. But that was so last decade.
Sugarland’s first mainstream album, Twice the Speed of Life (2005) went double platinum, cementing (as if there was a doubt) that their departure from the alt- and folk echelons was a savvy decision. Since then, songs like “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” (a collaboration with Bon Jovi) and “Everyday America” (co-opted as theme music for TV show Good Morning America) have earned Bush and Nettles the 2007 Country Music Association’s Duo of the Year award, eight singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and a massive national fan base.
Those fans, no doubt, are disappointed that the band canceled their local concert this week. Press claims the cancellation is “due to unforeseen band member illness,” and ticket holders who can’t make the rescheduled show can obtain a refund wherever they purchased tickets. Everyone else will be looking forward to Surgarland’s September visit to Asheville.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter