2015 Riverfest Headliner - Kristian Bush of SugarLand

Kristian Bush of Sugarland will perform on Friday, Septermber 11, 2015, at 9:30 p.m.

Kristian Bush, one half of platinum-selling country duo Sugarland, has been leaving his mark on music for more than two decades. His debut solo album, Southern Gravity, was released in April 2015, featuring the Top 20 single "Trailer Hitch." The album received rave reviews from Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe, and the Sydney Morning Herald, among many others. Country Weekly called it the "feel-good album of the year." Bush is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who started his career with folk rock duo Billy Pilgrim in the early '90s. He and partner Andrew Hyra released a much-lauded pair of albums for Atlantic Records (their 1994 self-titled debut and 1995's Bloom), earning multiple Top 5 singles on the AAA charts, rotation on VH1, and a reputation as dynamic live performers who traveled from the tiny stage of Eddie's Attic in Decatur, Georgia, to a worldwide tour supporting Melissa Etheridge in 1995. Bush founded Sugarland in 2002; in 2004, he and singer Jennifer Nettles exploded onto the music scene, surpassing sales of over 22 million albums worldwide, achieving five No. 1 singles and winning numerous awards, including trophies from the Grammys, AMAs, ACM Awards, CMT Music Awards and CMA Awards. In October of 2012, they were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. To date, Bush has won six BMI Awards for his songwriting abilities, and in 2011 founded the music publishing company and songwriting collective Songs of the Architect. Recent producing/songwriting collaborations include Mike Elizondo, Rita Wilson, Dia Frampton, Ellis Paul, Laura Bell Bundy, Matt Nathanson, the dB’s, Martin Johnson of Boys Like Girls, Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale, and up-and-comers including Kristina Train, Larkin Poe, Natalie Stovall, Canaan Smith, Jaida Dreyer, Alana Springsteen, and The Voice contestant Savannah Berry. Bush made his solo debut in March 2013 at the inaugural C2C: Country to Country Festival, held at the O2 Arena in London. His first release as a solo act, “Love or Money,” debuted in the UK and Europe the following week, and in October of 2013, he stood by his promise to release “Love or Money” at home in the US as well – the song is now available worldwide, and is featured in the hit mobile game My Singing Monsters, where Bush lends his voice to the green furry "Shugabush." He is a frequent panelist and speaker at events for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, and regularly appears as part of the CMA Songwriters Series in cities across the U.S. and Europe. Bush is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, where he still resides.


AWARDS AND ACCOLADES 2012 Named Distinguished Alumnus, Avon Old Farms School 2011 CMA Awards Vocal Duo of the Year - Sugarland 2011 CMT Music Awards Duo Video of the Year - Sugarland, "Stuck Like Glue" 2011 ACM Awards Top Vocal Duo - Sugarland 2010 CMA Awards Vocal Duo of the Year - Sugarland 2009 CMA Awards Vocal Duo of the Year - Sugarland 2009 CMT Music Awards Duo Video of the Year - Sugarland, "All I Want To Do" 2009 ACM Awards Top Vocal Duo - Sugarland 2009 Grammy Awards Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group - Sugarland, "Stay" 2009 Grammy Awards Best Country Song - Sugarland, "Stay" 2008 CMA Awards Vocal Duo of the Year - Sugarland 2008 CMT Music Awards Duo Video of the Year - Sugarland, "Stay" 2008 ACM Awards Single of the Year - Sugarland, "Stay" 2007 CMA Awards Vocal Duo of the Year - Sugarland 2007 CMT Awards Duo Video of the Year - Sugarland, "Want To" 2006 ACM Awards Top New Duo or Vocal Group - Sugarland 2005 American Music Awards Favorite Breakthrough New Artist - Sugarland



 MEGHAN LINSEY will perform on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 7:45 p. m. 


Powerful. Soulful. Distinctive. These are just a few of the adjectives used to describe the incredible voice and natural allure of Meghan Linsey.  She uses her voice and overall presence, along with the songs she so carefully crafts, to tell the stories she wants, or more accurately, “needs” to tell.

Her years growing up in the musical melting pot in and around New Orleans are what she credits as influences of her unique sound. “I grew up listening to Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and my favorite... Whitney Houston,” Meghan says. “I loved the soulfulness of their voices. But I also fell in love with the storytelling of country music and the songs of artists like Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker and Patty Griffin. Anything with grit and soul really resonated with me growing up, and it still does."

Meghan showcased her soulful, signature sound, and captured America’s heart, on NBC’s hit music show The Voice, as viewers voted her runner-up on Season 8. More about that later.

At age 14, Meghan started playing shows with her own band and a short year later she was opening for acts such as Brad Paisley and Blake Shelton at events around Louisiana and Texas. She also began to make regular trips to Nashville to play at the legendary Bluebird Cafe. “I played the early slot, but I would always stay for the late show because that’s when so many of the great songwriters I loved would play,” she says. It wasn’t long before she began writing with many of those same songwriters.

After graduation, Meghan made the trip to Nashville and stayed to chase her dream.

She enrolled at Belmont University to study music and continued to write songs and play shows.  To make ends meet, Meghan began hosting karaoke at a bar in Printer's Alley in downtown Nashville. It was there she met Joshua Scott Jones. The two began writing and performing together as Steel Magnolia.

The duo’s unique sound and style caught the attention of the producers of CMT’s music competition show Can You Duet, and their powerful stage performances propelled them to win the competition which resulted in a record contract with Big Machine Records.  Their first single, "Keep On Loving You," shot to #4 and was the highest charting debut single from a male/female duo in country music history. Meghan and Josh went on to sell nearly one million downloads and albums, appeared on national television shows and toured with superstar acts such as Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Reba, and Bob Seger. 

In 2013, Meghan and Josh decided to part ways and Meghan began work on new music, a new sound and a solo career.

"I've really poured my heart and soul into writing songs the last couple years,” Meghan says. "I've been through and lost a lot and it's been really hard. Writing songs and creating has been therapy for me. I think it's obvious that the songs come from a real place and I hope that will resonate with people. For once, I have no boundaries,” Meghan continues, “and I can be as honest and expressive as I want and need to be.”

On the season finale of The Voice in May of 2015, Meghan was the first contestant ever to be able to sing and release an original song on the show. Her song “Change My Mind” immediately shot to the top five on iTunes’ all-genre chart and sold more than 50,000 downloads in less than a week.

Other chart highlights from Meghan's performances on The Voice include:

  • Three Top 5 songs on the iTunes all-genre chart
  • iTunes #1 on the Country, Blues and Christian Charts
  • iTunes Top 5 on the Pop and Rock charts
  • Debut #1 on the Billboard Christian Chart

In addition, her performance videos have been viewed more than 5 million times.


Full Riverfest Lineup 


Friday, September 11th

5:00 - 5:45PM - Jarred Pierce


 6:00 - 7:15 PM - Ben Parker Project


7:45 - 9:00 PM - Meghan Linsey (from The Voice)

9:30 - 11:00 PM - Kristian Bush of Sugarland


 Saturday, September 12th

5:00 - 6:15PM - Ahead of the Wake


6:50 - 7:40 PM - Live By Satellite


 8:00 - 9:00 PM - The Wheelers


 9:30 - 11:00PM - Rollin' In The Hay







BBQ Awards

The awards for the Pro and Backyard Barbecue Competitions will be announced Saturday night at 5 p.m. in front of the Riverfest stage.