The holidays will be a festive time for Jennifer Nettles with an appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, not to mention her role in the upcoming TV movie Coat of Many Colors and a return to her hosting gig on the CMA Country Christmas special. The latest single from the Grammy winner, however, is a downright somber ballad full of longing and regret. Nettles performed the song — which will appear on her forthcoming full-length album — during her Tuesday appearance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.
“Unlove You,” which the Sugarland member co-wrote with Brandy Clark and debuted during her solo Playing With Fire Tour this fall, finds the subject of the song unable to close the books on an old love even though it has reached its inevitable conclusion. The smoldering tune has her pleading, “I can’t unlove you, so come love me for now.” During CMT’s Next Women of Country showcase earlier this month, Nettles introduced the song by saying that country music “celebrates brokenness and it takes realness in life and shines a light through it,” adding that “there is beauty in all of this because it is life.”
Reclaiming the festive holiday spirit, Nettles returns for the sixth consecutive year to host the CMA Country Christmas special, which airs Thursday, December 3rd, at 9:00 p.m. ET on ABC. The all-star cast includes Kelsea Ballerini, Dan + Shay, Charles Kelley, Martina McBride, David Nail, LeAnn Rimes, Jewel, Darius Rucker, Mickey Guyton, a capella group Pentatonix and a special performance from Thomas Rhett and Brett Eldredge.
One week later, Nettles will play Dolly Parton’s mother, Avie Lee Parton, in Coat of Many Colors, based on the autobiographical song Parton penned in 1971. The film, which also stars Ricky Schroder as Parton’s dad and Alyvia Alyn Lind as a young Dolly, premieres on NBC Thursday, December 10th, at 9:00 p.m. ET.