I ask you without a trace of insincerity or jest: when was the last time you turned on the radio and felt like you were hearing a true musical event?

Those righteously brilliant mavericks Sugarland are yet again tossing country radio on its tin ear this spring, and this time, they’ve gotten a little help from their friends. Last fall, the duo — led by the divine and fearless Jennifer Nettles, who may well be the finest, most striking vocalist to be found on the current dial — toured with up-and-comers Little Big Town and Jake Owen, and all three acts decided to corral their disparate voices and close each show with a thrilling, towering cover of The Dream Academy’s 1985 classic smash “Life in a Northern Town.”

A video of the spectacular performance has been streaming at cmt.com (and playing on the network) for months now, and in the last few weeks, thanks solely to a series of enterprising program directors poaching the audio directly from said video, the song has become a sensation at radio and is skyrocketing up the country charts. Sugarland’s label, MCA Nashville, continues to insist there are no plans to make “Northern Town” commercially available, but we’ll see how long that lasts as this thing continues its brisk march toward #1. When record labels realize they’re leaving gobs of money on the table, they tend to overturn their own dumbass decisions real quick-like.

Sugarland, Little Big Town, and Jake Owen,
in a special performance from April 2008’s CMT Music Awards:

The Dream Academy’s wistful 1985 original:

4 responses to “felt like the world would freeze”

  1. the buzz from Jared B:

    To answer your question, probably never.

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    That hurts my heart, Jared.

  3. the buzz from Em:

    1994… Nirvana. Damn you Kurt.

  4. the buzz from brandon:

    Now we’re talkin’!