Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Review: Sugarland's Gold and Green
If ever a pop act was suited to the unique sensibility of Christmas, it's Sugarland. The folksy and sincere voice of Jennifer Nettles is tailor-made for the season. Not only is her voice more expansive than Santa's belly, she and her partner Kristian Bush demonstrated that they're masters at interpreting familiar material on this year's impressive Live On the Inside album. (Here's my review.)
Besides, the unapologetically cornpone component of the band's sound gave Gold and Green, the band's first Christmas album, the potential to be a fully realized holiday classic.
Alas, they don't quite get there. Split between original and classic material as well as the sacred and the secular, the album is too disjointed to become a holiday staple. Still, a handful of individual tracks are excellent. The Leon Russell-style gospel-blues of "Comin' Home" works, as does "Maybe Baby (New Year's Day)." And I don't know why Nettles breaks into Spanish on "Silent Night" but I like it a lot.
It's not perfect. "Nuttin' For Christmas" is the sort of condescending hillbilly tripe that represents Sugarland at their worst. I'm not suggesting that Sugarland forsake its country roots, but the song doesn't ring true to my ears. Their ill-advised satirical advertisement for the project isn't funny either.
I remain convinced that Sugarland has a classic Christmas album in them. It'd be just fine with me if Sugarland put out a Christmas album every year until they get it right.
I compile a list of The Ten Most Important Jazz-Related Events and Stories of 2009 at Kansas City jazz blog Plastic Sax.
Jazz musician Jason Parker blogs about his experiment with "free." (Tip via AZ.)
I had occasion to interact with Bob Keane of Del-Fi Records a few times. He died November 28. (Tip via BGO.)
Folk music historian Bess Hawes has died. (Tip via BGO.)
Kansas City Click: Rex Hobart plays an early show at The Record Bar on Tuesday.
Jerry Hahn plays Jardine's on Wednesday.