Sugarland wows Knoxville during bittersweet times

Bittersweet year for Sugarland

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

(SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Photo by Saul Young, Saul Young // Buy this photo

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, October 6, 2011. (SAUL YOUNG/NEWS SENTINEL)

Jennifer Nettles, left, and Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Jennifer Nettles, left, and Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

Jennifer Nettles, left, and Knoxville native Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011

Jennifer Nettles, left, and Knoxville native Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform at Thompson-Boling Arena on Thursday, October 6, 2011.

Bittersweet year for Sugarland

By Wayne Bledsoe

bledsoew@knoxville.com 865-342-6444

It's been a year of highs and lows for country act Sugarland.

The group released its album "The Incredible Machine" in late 2010 and embarked on a tour to promote the disc, performing Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. The duo, made up of Jennifer Nettles and former Knoxvillian Kristian Bush, is one of the few acts still selling albums in the millions.

The band formed in 2003 in Nashville with Bush, Nettles and Kristen Hall. Hall left the group shortly after the act released its first album on Mercury Records and before the group became one of the biggest acts in country music.

In a 2008 interview, Bush said his success in Sugarland was the culmination of a lifelong dream. He grew up in Sevier and Knox County and attended Webb School of Knoxville, before moving on to college in Connecticut. Through the 1990s, Bush and fellow then-Knoxviilan Andrew Hyra founded and performed in the rock duo Billy Pilgrim and signed with Atlantic Records.

At the beginning of the 2000s, Bush moved to Nashville, where he met Hall and Nettles. The trio had a hit with the song "Baby Girl." And, when the group's second album, "Enjoy the Ride," was released in 2006, the duo began a string of No. 1 hits and platinum-selling discs.

However, on August 13, 2011, just before the band went on stage at the Indianapolis State Fair, the stage collapsed and injured more than 40 concertgoers, seven of them fatally.

In a statement sent to The Associated Press, Nettles said:

"I am so moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families. Moved by the great heroism as I watched so many brave Indianapolis fans actually run toward the stage to try and help lift and rescue those injured. Moved by the quickness and organization of the emergency workers who set up the triage and tended to the injured."

Since the accident, the group has not given interviews, but in a statement released on the band's website, the group said continuing the tour would "hopefully serve as a ritual and a balm to provide comfort and facilitate healing in this time of great sorrow. We hope to see you all soon."

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Comments » 5

SilkySleeve writes:

Is there a reason they decided to have this concert on a Thursday night? Some of us have class, and, you know, have to park. Way to go band. Thanks for not letting us park in the spots we have paid for!

With extreme loathing of your inconsiderate thoughts,

Angry UT student

NativeofCockeCounty writes:

I went to school with Bush's dad and as a matter of fact I am kin to him. Looks like he has made well for himself.

tnblessed writes:

in response to SilkySleeve:

Is there a reason they decided to have this concert on a Thursday night? Some of us have class, and, you know, have to park. Way to go band. Thanks for not letting us park in the spots we have paid for!

With extreme loathing of your inconsiderate thoughts,

Angry UT student

I feel your pain there Angry but money talks. I remember when I left the UT library on a Saturday with my backpack on my shoulder to find my car hooked to a tow truck because it was.... you guessed it, Football Time In Tennessee! Luckily, the guy was nice enough to unhook it and let me go on my way. We pay a lot in tuition to UT but we can't compare to the money brought in by sporting and special events.

It's all about the economics!

JPink1100 writes:

in response to SilkySleeve:

Is there a reason they decided to have this concert on a Thursday night? Some of us have class, and, you know, have to park. Way to go band. Thanks for not letting us park in the spots we have paid for!

With extreme loathing of your inconsiderate thoughts,

Angry UT student

Why blame the band? They are told where to park, where to play, and when. Take your anger out on whoever sets up the concerts and parking places.

cloudwatcher58 writes:

Best band ever!!

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