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Paulette Tobin, Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, Published April 15 2009

Country-music duo Sugarland coming to Grand Forks

Sugarland was one of country music’s hottest acts in December 2007 when it had to cancel its concert in Grand Forks, kept away by bad roads and nasty weather.

The duo said then that it wanted to perform in Grand Forks eventually, and Sugarland will make good on its promise with an 8 p.m. Thursday concert at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

Fresh off winning the Academy of Country Music’s top vocal duo award and hotter than ever, Sugarland is touring in support of its platinum-selling third album, “Love on the Inside.” Billy Currington is opening for them.

A free concert pre-party has been planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center, which adjoins the Ralph.

Sugarland’s hit song “It Happens” is one of the fan favorites off “Love on the Inside,” with lyrics straight out of one of country music’s favorite genres: the funny song with the slightly naughty title or play on words that shows no one’s taking themselves too seriously.

“It Happens” is practically a diagram for “How to build a country hit,” with a story that starts with a missed alarm clock and a screaming boss, that describes a “walk of shame with two different shoes on,” and then sums up the day with: “The fact is – psssh – it happens.”

At the most recent Grammy awards, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush showed they could do country heartbreak just as movingly with the ballad “Stay” from their album “Enjoy the Ride.” “Stay” won song and single of the year at the 2008 ACM awards as well as best country song and best country performance by a duo or group at the 2009 Grammys.

In a news release, Nettles called “Love on the Inside” the record she always wanted to make because it really challenged her and her partner.

The duo spent February 2008 in their hometown of Atlanta making the album, then after a time brought session musicians and award-winning co-producer Byron Gallimore to Atlanta’s Southern Tracks Studio to finesse and record the songs they’d written while on the road supporting “Enjoy the Ride,” a news release said.

In a recent interview with Dish magazine, Bush said he and Nettles both came up in the Atlanta singer/songwriter alternative rock scene of the 1980s and ’90s.

“A lot of people don’t realize that, but once you say it out loud, you can kind of listen to the new record and you can hear R.E.M. and Drivin’ N Cryin’ and the Indigo Girls and all the stuff that was going on back then,” he told Dish.

“Love on the Inside” was released in July 2008; two singles from it, “All I Want to Do” and “Already Gone,” reached the top of the charts.

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