Jennifer Nettles’ debut solo album “That Girl” released Tuesday, and early reviewers say the songs are stripped down and full of emotion.
The album, which was four years in the making, has been compared to the work of Carole King and Linda Ronstadt in the way that Nettles connects emotionally with the lyrics of her songs amidst “spare acoustic arrangements” that are balanced with “inventive rhythms and orchestrations.”
Nettles wrote or co-wrote 10 of the 11 songs on the album.
“I really didn’t put any boundaries on myself on how I wanted to write,” she said. “I just let that happen and I didn’t know what direction it was going to go. I sat down at my piano, and I called old friends, and I made new friends, and all those things just to see from a writing perspective what would come together and what kind of collection I would make. It got to a point where I decided ‘Alright, it’s time.’”
Nettles has been part of the country music duo Sugarland since 2003. In the beginning, the group was a trio consisting of Nettles, Kristian Bush and Kristen Hall. Hall left the group in 2006. The duo has sold millions of albums and won numerous awards, including two Grammys in 2009 for “Stay.”
Nettles said that fans will see a new side of her both vocally and as a songwriter in “That Girl.”
“I think this album so far for me musically has been the most intimate and personal … I think it’s way more intimate to me and way more personal in the sense that when you collaborate, that’s the nature of collaboration, you’re affecting each other, and playing with and inspiring each other, and yet there are things that one may not get to do or want to do when collaborating.”
Nettles said fans immediately feared that Sugarland was over when she announced plans for a solo album, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“I didn’t decide to do a solo venture, and Kristian didn’t decide to do his solo work and all the different projects that he’s doing out of a dislike of Sugarland.”
Nettles and Bush have left it “open-ended” as far as when they might come back as Sugarland, but for now want to dedicate themselves 100% to their current solo projects.
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