A year removed from the release of its smash album, "Enjoy the Ride," Sugarland is nearly ready to begin recording its follow-up. The set is due sometime next year via MCA Nashville.

A year removed from the release of its smash album, "Enjoy the Ride," Sugarland is nearly ready to begin recording its follow-up. The set is due sometime next year via MCA Nashville.

"We're planning on recording in February, and if all goes well we'll see what we make," singer/guitarist Kristian Bush says. "As writers, you kind of let the songs dictate where you're going, rather than trying to kick it and punch it. In Nashville, there's this interesting dynamic where you have an entire community of songwriters that are always writing and you also have this entire community of artists that are always touring, so rarely does the touring artist get a real chance to sit down and write.

"There is that strange little hustle between the two, and [group member] Jennifer [Nettles] and I aren't from Nashville, so we don't really know anything about it," he continues. "We're always stuck in this weird place where we're on tour writing, all of the time."

Roughly 20 new songs are in the mix, including "Fall Into Me" and "Take Me As I Am," which are receiving stage time during the band's first headlining jaunt.

Citing R.E.M.'s "Life's Rich Pageant" as an album that was delicately crafted from top to bottom, Bush offers a glimpse into Sugarland's songwriting mindset.

"We've had some very surprising success with our most recent single, 'Stay,' which really wasn't supposed to be a single," he says. "It's just myself, Jennifer, a guitar, a voice and my brother (Train's Brandon Bush) playing organ. That's it. And you think radio would never play something like that, and they are because people are connecting with it emotionally."

He adds, "I think country audiences are redefining what country music is, and I think they can kind of smell when you're either not being authentic or telling the truth. So, we're writing into this space and trying to find ourselves in a very emotional authentic place."