September 7

What’s in a Song? We Reveal True Stories Behind 5 Sugarland Hits

Songs, like people and outer appearances, don’t always fall into the “what you see or hear is what you get” kind of description. At times, artists can be pretty clever with their songwriting that they make fans take a closer look or lend keener listening skills to the lyrics of their songs. At times, the search for the truth behind their songs’ words can be likened to a treasure hunt where the closest we can get to a gold bar is the revelation of a personal or controversial experience that our idols have gone through.

Today we decided to zero in on the song facts some of our favorite tracks from the hit musical duo, Sugarland. Here’s what we’ve discovered:

1. “Joey”, 2008

Starting off with a tear-jerking song, Joey is a song that depicts teenage love. It was co-written by Jennifer Nettles, Kristian Bush, and Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson. The song’s lyrics were strongly based on unending questions of “what ifs” that people usually encounter when they delve into certain regrets they have in their past or current relationships. Joey was also crafted with the aim of becoming a modern twist to teen tragedy songs that were released and made famous in the 1960’s. It was written backward, a real trademark of Bill Anderson’s songwriting style.

2. “Shine the Light”, 2010

Artists are always prone to the darkness because they need to experience the other side of happiness and contentment to be able to produce music and art that’s truly relatable and meaningful to their listeners. For the gospel track Shine the Light, Nettles shares that she was inspired to write the song after she had a heart-to-heart conversation with her musical partner, Kristian Bush about a tough time that he’d been going through. During their talk, Nettles tells Bush, “There are times in our lives and places in our lives that only we can go ourselves. We have to go into those woods ourselves and hopefully when we get there, as we get closer, we’ll see all the people that we love standing at the edge holding a flashlight to how us the way out.” Nettles adds that she is hoping the song can also serve as a source of encouragement for many other people.

3. “Baby Girl”, 2004

The duo’s first hit single after their original third member, Kristen Hall, left the group. Jennifer Nettles confirmed in an interview that the song was, in fact, autobiographical. She further explains that Baby Girl was also a “self-fulfilling prophecy” in that “it was the first single, and it manifested itself in a way of showing that success.” For Nettles, every artist and every individual can fully relate to the track’s message because everybody has a dream or ambition and the desire to make the people they care about proud. “I love the story of that song and how art imitated life in that sense.”

4. “Very Last Country Song”, 2008

Co-written by the duo with Tim Owens, this track is all about taking a closer perspective at what would happen to country music if things remained okay and nothing ever went wrong again. One time, Owens shared to Sugarland an experience he had where he was asked about the country genre. He was asked what artists would have to write about if there no longer were bad things to compose a song about. The person who asked also cited that country music always just seemed so sad. Thus, the beautiful song was born, along with a straightforward answer that if life stayed stagnant with no ups and downs, then Very Last Country Song would most likely be the last country track we’d ever hear again.

5. “Already Gone”, 2008

Sugarland made a risky move with Already Gone when they did a waltz-time lope in a six-eight time arrangement. The song is simply a depiction of “relationships that have ended emotionally long before they are physically terminated.” According to Bush, the track was pretty much a story that has a special place for Jennifer at the time it was being written. It tells all listeners that there is a time when relationships reach its end, it’s already been done and dissolved before the realization comes through.

Did you enjoy these Sugarland song facts we prepared? Which artist would you want us to feature next on this segment?


song facts, Sugarland

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