Sugarland Settles Lawsuit with Founder Kristen Hall; Country Shows Expand; Anna Wilson Adds Jazz to Country Standards

Brody Vercher | November 16th, 2010

  • Current Sugarland members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush settled a lawsuit with the group’s founding member, Kristen Hall, who claims she was owed more than $14 million. Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed.
  • NPR’s Meredith Ochs says the new Hank Williams box set The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings…Plus! challenges commonly held perceptions:

    Though it’s well-known that Hank Williams was a charismatic performer, a true superstar, he’s also thought of as a tragic figure. The Lovesick Blues Boy was a man who sang songs of heartache and loneliness, who infamously died in the back of a car at age 29 — a one-dimensional, sepia-toned character who looked and sounded much older than he actually was.

    But The Complete Mother’s Best Recordings reveals the fun Hank, the Hank who wrote “Hey Good Lookin’,” the morning Hank, perhaps, since these recordings are of a series of radio shows that aired at 7:15 a.m. Far from forlorn, Williams sounds jovial, riffing on the ad copy, joking with the band and his wife Audrey, even laughing out loud.

  • Zoe Muth signed with Signature Sounds and has a new album due out in April 2011. If you’re not familiar with Muth, several songs from her latest album can be streamed on MySpace.
  • Listen to Keith Urban‘s new album Get Closer in its entirety at NPR.
  • Listen to Rascal Flatts‘ new album Nothing Like This in its entirety at GAC.
  • The Country Network (TCN), a music video television network in Nashville dedicated exclusively to airing country music videos, plans to expand to nearly three dozen cities by the first quarter of 2011.
  • Larry Henley, Robert Plant, and John Denver have won CMA Awards. Roger Miller has not. Although most of his success predated the formation of the CMA, Chet Flippo says the fact he hasn’t been awarded anything from the CMA Awards should teach us to keep a little perspective about the importance of awards.
  • Representatives of Alan Parsons allege that the Lady Antebellum song “Need You Now” closely resembles Parsons’ “Eye In the Sky” and even put together a video for comparison.
  • Farce the Music: Top Ten Shortest Books by Country Artists II
  • The Bluegrass Blog is streaming “Mountain Fever,” the new single from Marty Raybon, featuring harmony vocals from Del McCoury. It’s a remake of an Osborne Brothers song and will appear on Raybon’s next album, Pick Of The Litter: A Collection of Fan Favorites. [I’ll take this over “Daddy Phone” any day of the week.]
  • Keith Urban may not stretch beyond his comfort zone on his new album, Get Closer, but Michael McCall says he manages to keep his work engaging.

    Keith Urban boils his sixth studio album down to the essentials of what fans expect from him. Of the eight songs, six explore relationships in relentlessly upbeat, guitar-driven arrangements; the two ballads address commitment and the joys of a strong, ongoing bond, as his love songs often do.

    The new songs don’t delineate from the star-making course Urban has followed for the last decade. But the new material does, concisely and consistently, prove why that formula works so well for him.

  • Honky Tonk TV has grown into its own full-length production with plans to partner with Hulu in December.
  • Bob Lefsetz praised the Brooks & Dunn song “The Long Goodbye” and songwriter Paul Brady responded.
  • For this week’s Acoustic Motel, Jack Ingram talks at length about the events that lead to his song “Riding High, Eating Good, and Staying Out of Jail.”
  • The first round of performers for the inaugural American Country Awards has been announced and includes CMA Awards male vocalist Blake Shelton, along with Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, and Josh Turner. More performers for the Dec. 6 show will be announced in the coming days.
  • With a new album and a change in labels, Rascal Flatts is feeling reinvigorated.

    “I think the future is bright and it’s what we make it,” Rooney said. “We’re not going to lay down and give up because our names weren’t mentioned in a few (awards show) categories… We came to Nashville because we wanted to be in country music and we found a sound and we wanted to be unique. I think we’re a new glimpse of what country is. I can’t wait to see five years down the road and where we will be. It just feels really good right now.”

  • Forty-five million dollars in a year landed Taylor Swift at No. 9 on Forbes‘ rankings of Hollywood’s highest-earning women. (via CMT)
  • When Keith Whitley took “Miami, My Amy” to No. 1 the charts he earned a new pair of boots. Songwriter Hank Cochran told the story to American Songwriter back in January ’09.
  • Country California: Quotable Country – 11/14/10 Edition
  • New releases for the week of November 16, 2010 include:

  • “You Don’t Know Me,” the first song from Anna Wilson‘s next album (see the next bullet for details), was released to iTunes today. Buy it on iTunes. Or stream it on Wilson’s website, and then buy it on iTunes. Good stuff.
  • For her new album, Countrypolitan Duets (due early next year), jazz artist Anna Wilson chose to cover a collection of country standards and even invited some of the original performers, like Ray Price and Connie Smith, to sing with her. It also includes appearances from some of today’s hitmakers, including Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum. Here’s the projects EPK:

  1. Leeann Ward
    November 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    Yeah, the Lady A/Parsons thing continuously comes up on my “Need You Now” review at Country Universe. Parsons has a persistent fan base or representatives.

  2. Rick
    November 16, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    The Anna Wislon comments are very timely as she is going to be featured on tonight’s Opry! I’m really looking forward to hearing her perform live. Other artists also featured tonight include Luke Bryan, Billy Dean, Diamond Rio, and Larry Carlton. Grade: B
    Opry Schedule:

    Gosh, if Alan Parsons is going after Lady Anetebellum’s “Need You Now”, then I think Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas should claim the song also resembles “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. Go get ‘em! (lol)

    Details of the Sugarland settlement will never be disclosed in public because someone will get whacked with penalties if they do! Let’s just assume it was far more than Jennifer Nettlesome felt Kristen deserved for her initial contributions.

  3. Jon
    November 16, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    The Osborne Brothers are not related to Ozzy Osbourne, and they don’t spell their names Rhe way he spells his, either.

  4. Brody Vercher
    November 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Thanks for Rhe trivia/spelling lesson, Jon.

  5. Josh
    November 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    With Taylor Swift making 49 mil…I had to wonder: which country artist made the most money in a year throughout history? Garth Brooks, George Strait, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash? Anyone has this type of factoid?

  6. numberonecountryfan
    November 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    Miami, My Amy was a #14 hit for Keith Whitley in 1986.

  7. Chris N.
    November 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Toby Keith has claimed in recent years to make about $45 million a year, so I’m sure that burns his ass. Bear in mind that an act on that tours on that level has a mind-boggling payroll and an endless amount of expenses to keep up with. It’s essentially like being the CEO of a pretty large company.

  8. Lewis
    November 16, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Chet must be really having a bad day. Roger Miller is not the only person to not have won CMA Awards. Buck Owens is another person who didn’t win any CMA’s as have Conway Twitty with his solo work (he won for his duets with Loretta Lynn only but not solo). A lot of people in country never won any CMA Awards but just ruling out Roger Miller seems like an insult to me.

  9. Lewis
    November 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Some people who have never won a CMA Award: Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, Skeeter Davis, The Bellamy Brothers, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty for his solo work, Carl Smith, Don Gibson, Dickey Lee, Johnny Paycheck and these are just a few who have never won a CMA Award so singling out one person in Roger Miller doesn’t make it right.

  10. Greg Melia
    November 16, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Wow, I just heard this from a friend that “Need You Now” is probably a rip-off of “Eye in the Sky”. It got me thinking that someone needs to do an analysis of the similarities of these two songs. Check out my blog,, where I will be looking closely at both songs to get to the bottom of this.

  11. Kyle
    November 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    From what I’ve heard so far, the Flatts and Urban albums are two of the most pop country albums we’ve heard yet. One of Urban’s songs (Right Back To You or something) sounded interesting, but the Flatts’ album just sounded absolutely terrible through and through. Uptempo, meaningless, pandering, boring songs, almost without exception. Yikes.

  12. Ben Foster
    November 16, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Never mind Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts. Is anyone streaming the new Lacy J. album???

  13. Thomas
    November 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    …another five years to go with rascal flatts – who ordered half a portion of armageddon for starters?

  14. K
    November 16, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Wow, that’s harsh Kyle.

    I haven’t listened to the Urban album, but I’m not expecting anything groundbreaking.

    I don’t think the Flatts album is THAT bad. The songs are medicore, but the performances are the best they’ve done in a really long time, and the production lets them experiment with sound and have a little bit more fun.

    I do think “Why Wait” is the best cut, but the production and vocals of the entire album elevate the enjoyment factor for me.

    Flatts have never been none for anything groundbreaking anyhow; most of their songs are considered trite and cheesy by those who don’t like them.

    I think “Why Wait,” “Easy,” “I Won’t Let Go” and “Summer Young” are great cuts, simply because the performances make everything work together.

    The industry has declined a lot in the past few years; most mainstream artists have reduced themeselves to recording material similar to that on the new Flatts record. The difference is they have vocals, production, and pure joy to back it up. I’d rather listen to an artist who can sell an average song than a great singer that’s not connected to what he/she is singing about.

  15. K
    November 16, 2010 at 8:56 pm


  16. Roger
    November 16, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    that anna wilson video is well worth the watch….check it out if you like Willie’s Pop standard records….I will buy that cd based on that video…..

  17. Stephen H.
    November 17, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I’m honestly surprised Parsons even has representatives anymore (even if it is his wife) … especially after not having done much after Woolfson left.

    As one of the commenters (I think basically just agreeing with the sentiment), Leeann, would you agree that there are at least some areas that could be considered similar? The instrumental backing is very similar, and “It’s a quarter after one/I’m all alone” vs. “I am the eye in the sky/Looking at you” too.

  18. Chris N.
    November 17, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    “Listen to Rascal Flatts‘ new album Nothing Like This in its entirety at GAC.”

    Is that a threat?

  19. Razor X
    November 17, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    It doesn’t sound so much like a threat, but a punishment.

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • Paige: Oh damn. :( I never commented here and I haven't been listening to any music at all since Thanksgiving (it …
  • Dave W.: Just read the news here. Will miss E145 very much - love this site. All the best to you Juli …
  • Leeann Ward: Oh, dang! This is real. Farewell to the most generous, informative, quality, intelligent, consistent, ethical country music blog! You …
  • bll: Thanks Juli for all the great articles and information; you'll be missed by me and I suss several others. Best …
  • Both Kinds of Music: I hope people appreciate the irony that one of the best "Americana" albums is titled Metamodern Sounds in COUNTRY Music.
  • Barry Mazor: I would not rule out that possibility..There's a different set of voters involved..
  • Dana M: Does anyone else think that Brandy Clark actually has a good chance of winning since this isn't a country awards …
  • Juli Thanki: UPDATE: Brandy Clark got a Best New Artist nom. BEST AMERICANA ALBUM: Rosanne Cash -- The River & The Thread John Hiatt -- Terms …
  • luckyoldsun: Glenn Campbell is great and I'd love to see him get an award, but the words of that song may …
  • Casey Penn: Juli, it was an honor to write for you here on You're good at what you do, and The …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • walkerandthetexasdangers3
  • deadmanstown
  • tom t hall storytellers
  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton