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A platinum-selling country duo from Georgia, Sugarland emerged in the mid-2000s with a rousing contemporary approach that relied as much on rock and pop as it did country traditions. Made up of singer/songwriters Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, the group was an almost immediate crossover success on the country and pop charts, hitting number one on both with 2008's Love on the Inside. They later repeated the same feat with their fifth album, 2010's surprising steampunk-inspired The Incredible Machine, which also topped the U.K.'s country chart. Several tours and major performances carried them into 2012, after which Sugarland opted to take a hiatus that lasted until 2017. Released in 2018, Bigger kicked off a newly inked contract with the Big Machine label and featured a guest spot from Taylor Swift. Sugarland initially began as a trio of songwriters from the Atlanta area, each of whom had enjoyed some level of renown as a solo country artist. Lead singer and songwriter Nettles had previously fronted Soul Miner's Daughter, and her gospel background and deep soul approach to country music made her an ideal frontperson for the trio. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Bush had formed half of the critically acclaimed duo Billy Pilgrim (along with Andrew Hyra), which had also released a pair of albums. Songwriter Kristen Hall had already released two solo albums on Windham Hill Records. The three musicians came together in 2002 and independently released Premium Quality Tunes, an EP of demo recordings (available online or at Sugarland shows), later that year. After building a buzz with their live performances, Sugarland signed with Mercury Nashville and released a two-song single ("Baby Girl" b/w "Stand Back Up") in early 2004. Twice the Speed of Life, their multi-platinum debut album featuring production by Garth Fundis, was released the same year. At the end of 2005, Hall left the group and resumed her solo career. Now working as a duo, Nettles and Bush issued a second full-length, Enjoy the Ride, in 2006 that built on their success, garnering attention in both pop and country quarters. For 2008's Love on the Inside, the pair successfully lobbied Mercury Nashville to let them co-produce their own album and record in Georgia instead of Music City. The resulting album was the most organic of Sugarland's three records to date, and it spawned three chart-topping singles -- "All I Want to Do," "Already Gone," and "It Happens."Sugarland truly became superstars in 2009. The year yielded them platinum status for Love on the Inside; a prime-time network television special called Live on the Inside (which resulted in a live album of the same name); Grammy Awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Performance; and, finally, their first Christmas recording, Gold and Green, which featured new holiday-themed originals as well as more traditional fare. The duo's fourth studio album, The Incredible Machine, was influenced by the so-called "steampunk movement" in science fiction circles and arrived in 2010. Propelled by the Top 20 pop hit "Stuck Like Glue," the record quickly went platinum, topping the Billboard pop and country charts and giving the group their first number one in the U.K. Several tours followed, as did Nettles' marriage and pregnancy in 2012, after which Sugarland went on hiatus. Bush released a solo album, Southern Gravity, in 2015, and Nettles notched another country number one with her solo debut, That Girl, in 2014. The duo announced their reunion at the Country Music Association Awards in 2017, releasing the chart-topping single "Still the Same" in December of that year. 2018 saw the release of Bigger, Sugarland's sixth album and first for Big Machine. It hit number two on the country charts and boasted a guest spot from Taylor Swift on the song "Babe."
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