"Exactly!" Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles exclaims when asked if "Beyoncé to Bill Anderson" is a fair assessment of the duo's music. Not only has it performed the former's "Irreplaceable" in

"Exactly!" Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles exclaims when asked if "Beyoncé to Bill Anderson" is a fair assessment of the duo's music. Not only has it performed the former's "Irreplaceable" in concert (a YouTube favorite), the pair co-wrote with country legend Anderson for its third Mercury Nashville album, "Love on the Inside," due this week.

Producer Byron Gallimore says the duo has an innate ability to blend its influences in a way that country fans find attractive. "Their experiences are pretty vast as far as the types of material that they know and can do, but the interesting thing about it is how country these guys are," he says. "It seems like whatever they do comes out country."

The duo has enjoyed as much country success as one can hope for if your name isn't Carrie Underwood. The act's 2005 debut, "Twice the Speed of Life," has tallied 2.5 million sales and spawned three top 10 Hot Country Songs hits. Second album "Enjoy the Ride" has sold 2.3 million copies and produced four top 10s, including the No. 1s "Want To" and "Settlin'."

"Love on the Inside" may be the purest Sugarland album yet, according to Nettles. "We're getting experience and we are also getting more comfortable in our own skin as writers, so musically on this record we went in and we really wanted to scale down," she says. "We didn't want everything to be super slick. We wanted it to be raw. We also had the luxury, because I was rested, of tracking everything live."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print