While country duo Sugarland takes a break, each half of the winning pair is testing the waters as a solo artist. Both have decidedly proved that they can swim. Singer Jennifer Nettles was first out of the gate with 2014’s “That Girl.” Now her partner in rhyme Kristian Bush weighs in with his first effort, the easygoing charmer “Southern Gravity.” The Tennessee native played the genial foil to Nettles onstage and in the studio, they partnered to craft an appealing blend of country, pop, Southern soul, and gospel. He continues in that vein on “Gravity,” offering up a collection of catchy radio-ready tunes that don’t go too heavy on the gloss and play up his rootsy leanings. The big difference, of course, is that Bush takes center stage behind the microphone for the first time and shows off his pleasantly gritty vocals as he waxes mostly chipper about life, love, and what it all means. The best tracks — like the kicky you-can’t-take-it-with-you first single, “Trailer Hitch,” and the inventive title track salute to the pleasures available below the Mason-Dixon line — showcase Bush’s way with both a memorable melody and the perfect accompanying couplet. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Giving It Up”Sarah Rodman can be reached at email@example.com.