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Sugarland, Frontier Ruckus
Sugarland: Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush


At 7:30  p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, with Little Big Town and Randy Montana

Martin Luther King Jr. Arena (Savannah Civic Center), 301 W. Ogelthorpe Ave. $39.50, $51.50.

Crucial to the success of this country music duo is inexhaustible vocalist Jennifer Nettles, a Georgia native whose earthy charm, and sweet, no-nonsense tones put her somewhere between Reba McEntire and Faith Hill in the sensitivity-cum-gusto department. But Nettles - partnered in Sugarland with singer/guitarist Kristian Bush - began as a gospel-tinged power belter in the Atlanta band Soul Miner's Daughter. Sugarland followed in the wake of the Jennifer Nettles Band, which had become one of the state's most successful indie exports. Originally a trio, with singer/songwriter Kristen Hall, Sugarland arrived in 2002 and scored a platinum album with Twice the Speed of Life four years later. The pair's chart-topping singles include "It Happens," "Already Gone," "All I Want to Do," "Want To" and "Settlin,'" and Nettles' duet with Jon Bon Jovi on "Who Says You Can't Go Home" was also a No. 1. Sugarland's fourth album, The Incredible Machine, will be released next week - and, wouldn't you know it, the first single (the incredibly catchy "Stuck Like Glue," which might be country's first hip hop record) is in the Top Ten as you're reading this! See


At 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, with Brandon McCoy

Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St. $8.

When Michigan-based Frontier Ruckus played this year's Bonnaroo Festival, Rolling Stone reviewed the band's set as one of the best of the bunch. "Their songs are full of rich, rural details," said the mag, "frozen lakes, swaying trees, highway lights glowing in the deep night. Add to the mix baleful brass and trembling percussion, and you've got the perfect recipe for Gothic Americana." Live, the band creates rich, evocative music with acoustic guitars, banjos and the occasional trumpet and accordion. There are drums and bass, too. Let's try this: Frontier Ruckus is like a better-educated Avett Brothers crossed with an agriculturally-minded Sufjan Stevens; lead singer Matthew Milia's melancholic voice evokes a young Levon Helm. See


South Florida jam band The Heavy Pets perform Thursday, Oct. 14 at Live Wire Music Hall, while Tampa-area indie folker Ryan Powers Boyle appears Monday (Oct. 18) at the Co-Laboratory, on a bill with Savannah acoustic artist Sincerely, Iris (a.k.a. Todd Murray) and the folk/blues group Sad Bastards ... that same night, Train Wrecks frontman Jason Bible is solo at the Sentient Bean, with Bill DeYoung (yours truly) in the opening slot ...