As front woman of 14 million album selling country superstars Sugarland and a chart-topping duet partner with Bon Jovi, Jennifer Nettles built a sturdy foundation to fly solo throughout much of the 2000s. Though the group is simply on hiatus rather than a full-fledged break up, the singer/songwriter is now two albums into her own career, starting with 2014’s Rick Rubin-produced “That Girl” and gearing up for the May 13 release “Playing With Fire” (the first as a Taylor Swift/Tim McGraw label mate on Big Machine Records).
Though a playful cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” made for an unexpected and playful encore, the group’s emotional ballad “Stay” truly reiterated the fact that Nettles isn’t just one of the strongest vocalists in country’s current class, but also one of the most magnetic in all of modern music.
Nettles brought a little bit of it all to her debut at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, packing out Chicago’s version of Las Vegas as headliner on CMT’s “Next Women Of Country” Tour (which also included openers Brandy Clark, Lindsay Ell and Tara Thompson). It all kicked off with the brand new “Playing With Fire,” a rocket of a country rocker that served as an idyllic vehicle for both her booming vocals and the expertise of a five piece band.
Sugarland’s sentimental but upbeat “Baby Girl” kept the high going, while fellow upcoming cut “Drunk In Heels” was just as deliciously devilish as it sounds. Nettles also demonstrated her softer side on several occasions, including the organically framed acoustic shuffle “That Girl” and a haunting rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.”
Shortly thereafter, she took everyone to church for the stirring “Salvation Works,” then capped off the main portion of the night with Sugarland’s potent “Something More.” Though a playful cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” made for an unexpected and playful encore, the group’s emotional ballad “Stay” truly reiterated the fact that Nettles isn’t just one of the strongest vocalists in country’s current class, but also one of the most magnetic in all of modern music.
Click here for more Jennifer Nettles and Brandy Clark photos from The Venue At Horseshoe Casino. For additional information on Jennifer Nettles and CMT’s “Next Women Of Country” Tour, visit JenniferNettles.com and CMT.com/NWOC-Tour.
Upcoming concert highlights at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino include Boyz II Men (March 25); Avant, Dru Hill, Ginuwine and Tank (April 14 and April 15); Floetry and Musiq Soulchild (April 16 and May 1); Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson and Stephanie Mills (May 6); Chris Tucker (May 21); Whitesnake (July 10) and The Monkees (July 11). For additional details, visit TheVenueChicago.com and Ticketmaster.com.