You could say Kristian Bush is hoping the third time will be the charm -- except he's been living a pretty charmed musical life for a long time.
With the release of a new solo album, "Southern Gravity," this spring, Bush -- who's part of this year's WYCD Ten Man Jam on Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Fillmore Detroit -- is about to become "a new artist for the third time." One of those was with the folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim during the 90s, but more impactful has been his tenure with Sugarland since 2002, which has sold more than 22 million albums worldwide and landed five No. 1 country hits along with a pile of awards.
But with the group on a hiatus after touring to support 2010's "The Incredible Machine," Bush is ready to step into the spotlight under his own name.
"I've been a new artist two other times and it's a unique feeling," says Bush, 44, who co-produced and co-wrote all the songs for "Southern Gravity." "It has its own unique energy. In this case, no one's really familiar with my voice. They're familiar with my voices as a writer and my work as a producer, but Sugarland was, and still is, an evolution for Jennifer's (Nettles) voice, so it's completely open territory for me.
"It's Not the voice you expect, but it'll sound like something you would expect from Sugarland. When you're connecting it later you'll go, 'Oh, yeah, that makes sense...' "
Bush says that, like the first single "Trailer Hitch," "Southern Gravity" "is a radio album. I meant for it to be shared and discovered by people." But it's decidedly upbeat as well. "I'm trying to make you dance," he acknowledges. I'm trying to give you a groove that you can hang your hat on. Music is supposed to shake your hips, so there's a lot of that."
And while he plans to be on the road throughout the year promoting "Southern Gravity," Bush promises we'll be hearing more from Sugarland in the future, too.
"We haven't gotten a phone call from the label at all," he says, noting that Nettles -- who released her solo album, "That Girl," last year -- is currently busy on Broadway, playing Roxie Hart in "Chicago the Musical." "Whenever they call us, I'm sure we'll go do something. Her record cycle has kinda come and gone; I waited 'cause, y'know, a good Southern gentleman lets the lady go first.
"But we'll be back at it as soon as we get back at it."
WYCD Ten Man Jam featuring Big & Rich, Randy Houser, Easton Corbin, Sugarland's Kristian Bush, Josh Turner and more.
7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29.
The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward Ave.
Tickets are being distributed by WYCD. Visit www.wycd.cbslocal.com.
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