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Kristian Bush

A Glimpse Into His World of Music

Article by Sean Okeefe

Photography by Ben Rollins, Ryan Alexander, Sam Ciaramitano

Originally published in Midtown Lifestyle

Most of us are lucky if we get a chance to have one of our dreams come true. Luckily for us, this is simply not the case when it comes to Kristian Bush and his long list of musical dreams. Kristian formed his first band, Billy Pilgrim, in Atlanta in the early 1990’s and began performing and recording folk rock music. In 2002 he co-founded the Grammy winning band Sugarland and in 2015 Kristian released his first solo album. His musical career has taken him all over the world and while Kristian Bush is a not a native of Atlanta he has made his home in Midtown and from the sound of it, he will not be going anywhere anytime soon.

After a lengthy quarantine in his house, Kristian started to go through some old boxes and found a host of memories, music, and all of his concert photographs from the Cotton Club. The Cotton Club was a historic concert venue that was across from the Federal Reserve on Peachtree and hosted bands like REM, the B-52s, and 10,000 Maniacs. It was legendary. Kristian also found several songs that were supposed to be on his 2015 solo album and recently re-released them as, The Southern Gravity Complete Collection. “They mean something totally different right now,” said Kristian; “It feels good to open the doors to these songs and to share them.” One of the songs on the album, is a poignant anthem for today’s world. “American Dreamers is a special reminder of our collective self-reliance and ability to accomplish the impossible together.” Kristian’s poetic lyrics offer insight into our current global call to action and the belief that if you dream it you can make it happen. The album is incredible, and the songs should be on everyone’s playlist!

Last year Kristian started another band, “I love to have a band, because music has a point of view, right?” He went on to say, “People believe in bands much faster than they believe in people.” Kristian admits that the new band, Dark Water, was inspired by songs that were worthy of a place on the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty album. Having had fun with the Southern Gravity re-release, Kristian looked into his music for songs that had not made it onto previous records, and he found them. “These are great songs and besides they are all bringing comfort to people. It’s going to be okay; or, if you need a friend I am here,” are things that everyone needs to hear these days. “These songs became import to release,” said Kristian, “Not to be successful but, to release them so that people can have the music in case they need a blanket.” Needless to say, Kristian Bush released the songs.

With all of this pandemic influenced creativity going on these last few months it is hard to imagine that Kristian had time to listen to music. There is music everywhere and the music that he is listening to is incredible. With super talent out of Los Angeles and two incredible bands from Atlanta, the choices for his personal playlist should be on everyone’s radar. Muna is a sensational electro pop band comprised of three women who met in 2013 while attending the University of Southern California. The trio has been recording uplifting, feel good music ever since. The Larkin Poe Band, an American roots rock band fronted by sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell, originally from North Georgia, has been recording and preforming together since 2010. And, then there is Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics, a Southern soul, rhythm and blues band that has been leaving audiences across the country craving for more of Ruby’s sultry voice. Three completely different genres of music, each artist, more incredible than the last. 

There has been a lot going on for everyone one of us lately and we have all taken a look back in order to prepare for the future. “At the beginning of this we were probably as deeply divided as a country can be,” said Kristian. “There is something deeply human about what is happening that kind of supersedes the disagreement in attitude.” It is the incredible character of people that allows us to lean on each other in times of need and, while we are still dealing with our new reality, Kristian is confidant and very hopeful for our future. “We have been through worse and made it; we have literally gone through ashes and we built it back.”

Kristian, like all of us, is looking forward to getting back to normal. There is definitely a trip to South City Kitchen for some fried chicken in his future. Thankfully for all of us, there will be some great local, Midtown music, to accompany the dinner!