So many honky-tonk badonkadonks later, it’s difficult to recall that mainstream country once had a thriving bloc of introspective singer-songwriter types. That was as recently as the early ’90s, when sensitive tunesmiths like Mary Chapin Carpenter and Rodney Crowell could still be viable hitmakers, before an incoming wave of Garth-mania swept them to the margins. Sugarland sure seem to remember, though.
The set hinges on the three songs at its heart: first is the innocent yet feverish first flush of new love on "We Run." Played mostly on acoustic instruments, it celebrates the birth of love as beginning and end in itself. There's the obsession and lump-in-your-throat heat that this is it. The tune is followed by "Joey," a song about a lost love that's too late to resurrect -- the bereft and abandoned and once Beloved is no longer on the planet.