We caught up with Atlanta-based musician Kristian Bush (the man in the hat!) of the band Sugarland to share exclusive thoughts on the occasion of his world premiere musical Troubadour now playing at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. A collaboration with his brother Brandon Bush (music director and member of Train), local playwright Janece Shaffer and director Susan Booth, the show is now running through Feb. 12, 2017. The show is a romantic comedy about the collision of country music and fashion featuring Marietta’s Zach Seabaugh from The Voice, and Atlantans have the chance to see it for the first time for a few weeks before it makes its next stop on NYC or other stages.
Q: What’s it like for you pursuing your music dreams and keeping up with fan demand for both cherished songs plus all your brand new content?
A: Fans of my music are fans because they have found a song that I have made that resonates within their lives. That is a powerful relationship and one that I try to never take for granted. I take it as a trust that I need to keep. Every time I make something new I try to remember that I have to do my very best to keep the trust. I also never forget that I should always play their favorite song when I play them my newest one.
Q: Can you tell us some of your songwriting inspirations here in Atlanta?
Atlanta inspires me because the people of Atlanta inspire me. I listen to conversations everywhere I go, and I soak up the words we all say to each other. I do my best to hang them off of melodies that I learned from R.E.M. and Indigo Girls and Shawn Mullins. This city has its own identity and one that is as uniquely American and Southern and human. All of those things I love, and those are all of those things I try to write.
A: What are some of your favorite music, dining and hangout spots in Atlanta?
A: I love food. I believe that the food I eat inspires and changes the songs I record and how I record them. Here are some places I love: Iberian Pig, Double Zero, Tomo, Superica, Fritti, The Optimist, Candler Park Market deli counter, and even La Fonda. For music I would say, Eddie’s Attic, The Buckhead Theater, Venkman’s and the Variety Playhouse.
Q: What’s it like working with the Alliance Theatre and trying on a new hat to make musical theatre?
A: It is deeply humbling to be surrounded by so many talented people. Janece Shaffer and Susan Booth are some of the best creators I have ever had the pleasure to be near. Their guidance in helping me create for theater feels like a master class in storytelling. I love that they have asked me to be exactly who I am, create what I hear and then help me seamlessly place those songs into the larger framework of a musical.
Q: What should we expect from the show Troubadour?
A: You should expect to see a musical that is different than most you have seen. The music exists because it is a part of the characters’ lives, not necessarily because the characters break into song to tell you how they feel. My hope is that the music tells the story for the characters the same way that my songs tell the story of my life. You should expect to see a world-class musical made by people all standing in the same Georgia clay. It is Southern, American and full of heart.