Kristian Bush – what is this exactly? The future of the music industry?

(Click the SoundCloud link to listen on SoundCloud)

A review of sorts, but what’s the product?

Sugarland are on hiatus, that’s fair to say. We first got an inkling of that hiatus when Kristian Bush played solo at the Country2Country festival last March. He performed with a band, played some solo stuff and some covers, as well as one Sugarland song. He also released a UK-only single, “Love or Money” which he made available as a free download. It was good, too, so thumbs up to Kristian.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Nettles had a baby. And after the baby, or maybe during, she recorded her slick solo album, which I reviewed not long ago. She’s now embarking on a tour, and in news guaranteed to make me green with envy, US fans will get to see her on a bill that includes the excellent Brandy Clark.

Meanwhile, what’s Kristian up to? Well, on a very regular basis, he has been releasing new music through his own web site and SoundCloud. His Music Mondays have provided a regular stream of good music, and it’s all free. I don’t know if SoundCloud allows you to download stuff (if you’re a member, perhaps), but tools such as Wiretap Studio would make it trivial, anyway.

And now Kristian Bush is embarking on a solo tour. Unlike his bandmate, however, he doesn’t have an album to promote. What does he have? Music Mondays. He’s made a playlist available on SoundCloud, giving fans a heads up as to what he plans to play on the tour, and the 12 songs make up a pretty damn good collection.

Let’s put this in context. Sugarland are a hit machine, releasing album-after-album of commercial country pop and rock with no filler. If Kristian Bush doesn’t have the pipes of Jennifer Nettles (his voice is pleasant enough, gruff, but limited in range), he knows how to write a catchy song. He really does. Summer songs like “On Top of My Flip Flops” (remember summer?), and others such as “Waiting on an Angel”, “Feeling Fine California” and “Fire and Ice” show that hit-making is in his DNA. Jennifer Nettles’ album is great, I love it, but this free music from Kristian Bush is just as good.

What you can’t get your head round is that it’s free. It’s free, so it would be easy to devalue it, but you shouldn’t. The true test of this is to put it on your iPod and then see how you feel when it comes on. Do you want to skip? No. You instantly think, oh, this sounds good, what’s this again? Oh yeah…

Grab yourself some Bush.

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