On a Hot Scorching July night, Jennifer Nettles, one half of the Grammy-award winning duo, Sugarland, set the stage on fire! While the night temperature did lower significantly, due to the arrival of a monster thunderstorm, the show stayed, hot, hot, hot!
The night started off with a great set from singer-songwriter Brandy Clark. Clark has a great voice, strong and clear, but it’s not her voice that stands out the most. It’s her great songwriting ability, her way with lyrics. Clark already has a well established career as a songwriter, having written songs for a bevy of country artists including LeAnn Rimes, The Band Perry, Keith Urban, and Sheryl Crow. In 2013, Clark released her own album, 12 Stories. Clark is an expert at catchy lyrics and toe tapping melodies. She performed songs off of her album, as well as songs that she has written for other artists, including “Crazy Woman,” “Pray to Jesus,” and “Better Dig Two.” Imagine my surprise, when I was “bopping” along to her as she is signing about a disillusioned young mom, I realize the song is really about the benefits of getting high. Later I figured out the title of this song is “Get High.” My male companion at the show thought her lyrics about scorned woman and what they can do, such as “I hate stripes and orange ain’t my color and if I squeeze that trigger tonight I’ll be wearin’ one or the other.” were laugh out loud funny.
After a short break in which the scorching heat began to dip, Jennifer Nettles opens the show with the “That Girl,” the hit off her album released earlier this year with the same title. She continued the night with several songs off her That Girl album, including “Moneyball,” “Me Without You,” “Falling,” “This One’s For You,” “This Angel,” and “Good Time to Cry.” In addition, to songs from her solo album, Nettles performs several of Sugarland’s hits, including “Baby Girl,” “All I Want to Do,” and what show would be complete without a performance of Sugarland’s Grammy winning hit “Stay?”
She talks about how the songs on That Girl reflect her different musical influences from what she calls “70s Radio Music” and a performance of Ambrosia’s “You’re the Biggest Part of Me” to Barry Manilow’s “Weekend in New England.” She also performed Imagine Dragon’s “Demons.”
Its easy to see why Nettles has such a huge following. Her voice is beautiful and powerful, with just the right amount of that scratchy quality that makes you want to listen, and continue listening and never stop. But not only does she have an amazing voice, she is so friendly and down to earth that It feels like you are sitting around chatting with a friend, listening to some fantastic music. I mean, you would only ask your friends to help you with “crotch watch” right. Nettles asked the audience, especially the ones in the front row, if they could make sure she didn’t expose her nether regions or ended up with a giant sweat marks on her shorts, since it was the first time she had worn them. She also took a quick “break” in between songs to say hi to a woman whom she used to nanny for, showing once again how down to earth she is.
The highlight of the night was “Good Time to Cry” The lyrics are just so poignant, so sad, they always bring a tear to my eyes. I also really loved “This Angel.” The deeply intimate lyrics, mixed with Nettles gorgeous voice sends chills up my spine every time I listen to it.
She ended the set with a 2 song encore. “Thank You” from her latest album as a tribute and a “thank you” to all her fans for their support and Bob Segers’ “Like a Rock.”
The show was fantastic—Brandy Clark was the perfect opener, and Jennifer Nettle’s flawless vocals made for an amazing night. What made the show even better was that you could tell that Nettle was having a fantastic time on stage as she was singing and laughing with the band. All in all, it was a perfect night full of laughs, friendship, great music, and beautiful voices.
Jennifer Nettles played one night only on July 13, 2014 at the Filene Center at Wolf Trap – 1645 Trap Road, in Vienna, VA. For future performances and Information: Call (877) 965-3872, or check their calendar of events.