Kim Betts, a versatile and talented performer who has literally been performing her whole life, including touring with her father Dicky Betts (Allman Brothers), has been working for over a year on developing Sugarland Tribute Band, a tribute to Grammy Award-winning country music star Jennifer Nettles. While tribute bands normally play private circuits, Kim is taking her show to the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton as a special gift for our local Sarasota/Bradenton community!
Be sure not to miss “Enjoy the Ride,” a two-plus hour show showcasing this homegrown, fantastic six-piece band playing Sugarland’s top hits as well as Jennifer Nettles’ latest songs. With elaborate costumes, lighting, multi media backgrounds, state of the art sound and, of course the band’s most loved hits, you’ll hear the best of Nettles including: All I Want to Do; Already Gone; It Happens; Something More; Stay; Stuck Like Glue; Baby Girl and more. The show is set for Saturday, September 16 at 8 p.m. and opening are Kim’s friends – the multi-talented Rick Fass and Pam Jeffries duo.
Kim was busy with her children’s back-to-school activities and ‘up to her elbows in college applications” when I spoke with her. Her son, Grant, who is her lead guitarist for the band, is set for his last year of high school.
“I’m kind of sad about it,” Kim said, about her first born nearing college days. She takes her mothering seriously and her daughter Nicole, 12, is often dancing in the audience at Kim’s other shows with her country band Gamble Creek Band, a seven-year endeavor that appears locally and is a favorite of our area’s country music fans.
Kim attributes part of her success in her music career to having grown up around the industry and being an actress in her early years. But more importantly, she thinks it might be the way she manages leading the bands.
“I kind of gently, and almost motherly, lead them to be their own stars. I tell them to listen to the song, and come back and show me what they’ve got…they surprise the heck out of me most of the time,” Kim said. “I would be nothing without their musicianship, their support…I’m so excited about this band!”
Sugarland’s six-piece ensemble includes her son, Grant on lead guitar. Her partner Louis Butler, acoustic and primary male vocalist. Jonathan Shrader on drums; Ned Lamati on bass. And Savannah Brady, their ‘go to girl,” who plays keyboard, fiddle, mandolin, fill-in guitar… and ‘can do just about anything.”
“We work so well together,” Kim said. “But each person has incredible strength on their own. Louis and I can simply exchange looks and know exactly what the other is thinking…I call this an ‘ensemble’ because it is a group of people performing together, but each has his or her special strengths as individuals.”
Kim chose to develop a tribute to Sugarland and especially Jennifer Nettles not only for Nettles’ style but because of her philanthropic activities.
“When you do a tribute band, you have to be 110 percent dedicated. I had a handful of women I liked, and who I thought I could represent respectfully, but I kept coming back to Jennifer Nettles,” Kim said. “Not only is she an amazing artist, her charity work is unbelievable. I can embody what she stands for with all my heart.”
Grammy award winner Nettles led the Women in Country Music movement; is dedicated to youth and up and coming female artists; and is currently speaking at 4-H events as her band has been on hiatus.
Kim said she would like to thank Sande Caplin & Associates for the firm’s work on marketing and promoting Sugarland Tribute. And her sponsors Premiere Jewelry Designs, It Works!, Brando Quarles of Leslie Wells Realty, and Laura Downy Realty.
“Dang, ya’ll, we just got booked at the County Fair! I’ve been working my tail off for years trying to get on that circuit,” said Kim speaking of Sugarland Tribute Band, on a recent Facebook post. The Manatee County Fair is probably the only other chance you’ll get to see Sugarland Tribute Band perform in this area for some time since the band has booked its 2017/2018 season. The fair date is on January 19th and you can witness Sugarland perform with the fair’s ticket admission.
Be sure, though, not to miss Sugarland Tribute Band “Enjoy the Ride” show Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Manatee Performing Arts Center in Bradenton. For tickets call The Manatee Players at 748-5875 or visit the website at manateeperformingartscenter.com. For more information on Sugarland Tribute Band, and to listen to some of the band’s set list, go to: http://kimbetts.com/sugarland-tribute
To Purchase Tickets: https://tickets.manateeplayers.com/TheatreManager/1/online?performance=4798
Photo courtesy of Kim Betts