Premium Quality Tunes

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It’s just a matter of time. This regional super group will get its chance at the big time. One listen makes it all clear. About half a year ago, local fave Jennifer Nettles hooked up with phenom singer-songwriter Kristen Hall to create a pristine country-pop outfit called Sugarland. They assembled an incredible back up band that includes collaborators of John Mayer, The Indigo Girls and Billy Pilgrim and churned out an album in the time it takes most new acts to come up with a name. Despite the appearance of hastiness, Premium Quality Tunes is an outright triumph. Every song on this disc sounds custom made for massive consumption. The bad things are that very few chances are taken lyrically or musically and the overly compressed mix is a bit stiff. The rest is all good. From the rags to riches lead off track “Baby Girl” to the potentially huge Dixie Chicks-ish romp of “50 Cent Lovin’,” this disc is a winner. It’s good to hear the usually schizophrenic Nettles find her niche and shine. Her voice simmers somewhere between Tanya Tucker and Deana Carter and her top-notch band knows to run with Nettles’ charisma. One listen to the neglected good wife gone out to be bad anthem “Mississippi” will make you a believer, too. If you didn’t think modern country could be good, you haven’t heard this. See them live while you can. I’ve got a feeling this outfit’s going all the way. (

 Chris McKay/