When Sugarland released their freshman Twice the Speed of Life album in 2004, the group, then a trio, included Jennifer Nettles, Kristin Hall (who left the band one year later), and Kristian Bush. In the years since, Bush never thought of themselves as male and female, even though other people did.
"When Jennifer and I started there weren’t a lot of co-ed bands," Bush explains. "So, I remember our first CMAs that we did in New York, it was at Madison Square Garden, and they separated us. There was like the women’s dressing room and the men’s dressing room. And I was the only person kind of uniquely confused. I was like, 'But I hang out with her. She’s in my band, but I have to go over here with these guys.' So, we were always a coed environment.
"It was a very telling moment when Jennifer and I finally were like, 'Let’s go ahead and try out our own buses,'" he continues. "It was time. So we did it, and suddenly it was just me and my brother and we were like, 'We don’t think we’ve ever had a man bus on a Sugarland tour. What’s this like?'"
Although Bush and Nettles are currently not on the same bus as they cross the country on their Still the Same Tour, Bush is quite happy being on what he calls his "Man Bus" now.
"Our version of man bus is like facial hair and martinis," says Bush. “It’s a cool bus. It smells good. Which you wouldn’t think it would. Man Bus does smell good.”
Sugarland is currently enjoying their first Top 10 hit in eight years with the release of "Babe," the second song from their recent Bigger album. The tune was written by Pat Monahan and Taylor Swift, who also appears on the track.
“’Babe’ is a perfect representation of, I think, from a songwriting perspective, what Taylor Swift does very well," Nettles says. "It is very confessional and it is very much – you wanna talk about what we talk about, and being in the moment in your life and putting it out there. You know this is something whenever she wrote it that at the time was very much on her mind and on her heart, we shall say.”