Everyone is familiar with the pop country duo of Sugarland. They’ve had numerous top songs and have won multiple CMA Awards. But many people think of Jennifer Nettles when they think of Sugarland because she sings in most of their songs while the other half of the duo Kristian Bush does more on the instrumentation side. For now though they’re pursuing solo careers and today I’m going to look at the beginning of Kristian Bush’s solo career. Bush is quite the experienced song writer, as he, Nettles and Kevin Griffin have written every Sugarland song. Busch though has taken it a step further with his new album, Southern Gravity, set to release soon (no date announced yet), as he said he has written over 300 songs for it. The first single from this album is “Trailer Hitch.”
Based on the title, you’ll probably speculate that this could be a bro country song before even listening to it. But that isn’t the case at all. It’s quite the opposite. The song is about how everyone in the world is obsessed with money and material possessions (spot on). And yet as Busch points out you can’t take any of this with you when you die. As he says, you’ve never seen a hearse with a trailer hitch. It’s a great message in a corrupt and greedy world. He then sings about how he gave away his baseball cards and his car. In the music video you’ll see at the end of this post, he actually spent a day in Chicago giving money back to the people as he played on the streets. It makes for a cool music video because it feels organic and not scripted.
“Trailer Hitch” has a reggae/soulful/pop feel to it. It’s carefree and easy. As some might put it, it’s a hippy song. There isn’t much instrumentation involved with the song as there’s only a guitar used. It’s stripped down and quiet, which is quite the contrast from a lot of modern country songs. I appreciate this because so many songs I review on here are hurt by loud production. Lyrically it’s a pretty solid song. It spreads the message of the song loud and clear. It’s easy to get stuck in your head after a few listens too because the chorus and beat are catchy.
I think this is the kind of song Kenny Chesney was aiming for with “American Kids,” but the production value of it hurt the sound of the song badly. It also wasn’t written that well, as it contained many laundry list lyrics. But Kristian Bush essentially made a much better version of it with “Trailer Hitch” in every single way, from the instrumentation to the lyrics to the vocals. The message of this song is great and is family friendly. If you’re going to make pop country, this kind of pop country I want to hear on the radio. It’s not deep nor is it traditional. But isn’t trying to be those things. “Trailer Hitch” is like a friendly dog that walks up to you in the park and wants a nice pat on the head. It’s harmless and fun. I’m eager to hear what else Bush has to offer on Southern Gravity.