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Sugarland

Love on the Inside – 2008 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Sugarland

Surely the duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, collectively known as Sugarland, are showing no signs of slowing down nor of wandering far from the path that made "Enjoy the Ride" and "Twice the Speed of Life" such hot-selling previous albums. The new disc has two versions. The first, which will be released a week before the other, is called the deluxe fan edition and is definitely the one to purchase. Besides containing the same 12 songs the regular release has, the fan edition contains 5 more songs, 2 of them live recordings of "Life in a Northern Town" and "Come on Get Higher." There is also special packaging plus access to a couple of videos, one of which captures some behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the album.

The disc opens with their big hit "All I Want to Do," and it ends (at least on the regular version) with the two best songs "Steve Earle" and "Very Last Country Song." "Steve Earle" is about the passion they share for the venerable singer's writing style. Nettles has a flair for injecting humor into a song without making it silly along the lines of Gretchen Wilson and Heidi Newfield. "Very Last Country Song" sets up the very unlikely premise about what happens if nothing ever went wrong for anybody and how it would effect the genre.

Nettles is in great voice throughout, and Bush's playing seems to grow more confident and forceful with each release. His mandolin work on "Genevieve" is ample evidence. Though the new album doesn't really break any new ground for the group, it is overflowing with the things that have earned them such a large following and there's very little wrong with that.