Martina McBride, Republic and… Reba?

To affix an old Reba McEntire album title on Martina McBride’s career, Martina is… Starting Over. The Kansas-born powerhouse took part in a press conference Monday at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to announce she’s ended an 18-year relationship with historic RCA Records to sign with a label still in its infancy, Republic Nashville Records. Sound crazy? Well, at a very surface level, maybe. But there’s a much bigger picture to the whole deal. In the process, she becomes the biggest drawing card on Republic, which means she’s sure to get the kind of intense marketing attention that every artist craves. And it puts her at the hottest company in Nashville: Republic is one of three labels of the Big Machine family, part of playpen that also includes Reba, Rascal Flatts, Justin Moore and The Band Perry. Oh, and some youngster named Taylor Swift. Read More

Sugarland Stuck on First Names

Sugarland is a one-name duo, and both members of the act are now known by one name to their fans, too. If people talk about “Jennifer and Kristian,” it doesn’t take too long for country fans to figure out they’re referring to Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush. And that’s pretty much just the way they want it. Read More

Sugarland Enjoys an Incredible Moment

“Do it, do it, one time.” Sugarland might sing that line in the current Top 5 hit “Stuck Like Glue,” but the “one time” reference is already out of date — if you want to interpret the “it” they’re singing about as debuting at No. 1 on the country albums charts. The duo’s new release, The Incredible Machine, sold more than 202,000 copies last week following its Oct. 19 release, launching it to No. 1 on the Billboard country albums chart as well as the all-genre Billboard 200. It’s actually the third time Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have had a No. 1 debut. They also turned that trick with Love On The Inside and last year’s concert album Live On The Inside. Read More

Sugarland, Gwyneth Paltrow Visit GAC’s Top 20

Two artists who are putting country music to the test will show up on this weekend’s edition of GAC’s Top 20 Country Countdown. Sugarland and Gwyneth Paltrow are on deck to visit with host Nan Kelley. Gwyneth is an actress, but she’s taking a shot at being a country singer through the Country Strong soundtrack. She sings several songs on the album, which accompanies a movie that has her portraying a vocalist, and she’ll even make her live performance debut as a country singer during the CMA awards Nov. 10. While Gwyneth is kind of an outsider working her way into country, Sugarland is an inside artist that’s pushing out against the stylistic boundaries of country. The duo just released a new album, The Incredible Machine. The first single, “Stuck Like Glue,” has some reggae elements in it, and it’s been a bit controversial as a result. And that’s exactly what Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush had in mind when they recorded it. Read More

Oh, Brother: It’s Sugarland

When Sugarland shrank from a trio to a duo a few years ago, it wasn’t long before fans began speculating that Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were an item. Never mind that he’s happily married, the thinking went. Guys and girls can’t be friends without wanting to become more. Fortunately, Sugarland weathered that period and the public perceptions have become much more realistic. The world seems able to understand that they really are friends and creative partners — almost, as Jennifer puts it, like a brother and sister. Read More