Jennifer Nettles channels the dueling pain and beauty of womanhood in her moving new solo track “I Can Do Hard Things,” which she introduced today with a short essay.
Accompanied only by some understated guitars and drums, “I Can Do Hard Things” finds its fulcrum on the powerhouse Sugarland singer’s vocal, which is tough and gentle in equal turns. She ponders the apparent absolutes of life which, over time and especially through motherhood, she has come to see soften and blur, containing within them the sheer vastness of life. “We’re told to say that it’s better, that it is and isn’t/And now I know there’s little black or white, there’s little wrong or right, and mostly it’s both,” Nettles sings.
Nettles lays out some of her inspiration for “I Can Do Hard Things” in a Medium.com essay, putting a finer point on the song’s message. “As I became a woman, and most certainly upon maturing into a mother, I came to see that we live in the “in between”, in the grey, and that sometimes things can be both happy AND sad,” she writes, singling out the influence of Glennon Doyle Melton’s 2016 memoir Love Warrior in helping to articulate her own experiences.
Nettles, who reunited with her Sugarland bandmate Kristian Bush for a new album in 2018, is also slated to appear in the Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet that will be released later this year.