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Big & Rich

Big Kenny (left) and John Rich
Background information
Origin Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.
Genres Country
Years active 1998 – 2007 (hiatus), 2009 – present
Labels Warner Bros. Nashville
Associated acts Lonestar, MuzikMafia, Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, Jason Aldean
Big Kenny
John Rich

Big & Rich is an American country music duo composed of Big Kenny and John Rich. Both members alternate as lead vocalists and play rhythm guitar. Rich had formerly been a member of the country music band Lonestar and later a solo artist for BNA Records, while Kenny was formerly a solo artist on Hollywood Records.

Big & Rich's first studio album, Horse of a Different Color, was released in 2004. This album produced four straight Top 40 country hits, including the #11 "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)", as well as collaborations with Cowboy Troy, Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride. Comin' to Your City, released in November 2005, added another top-20 single, the Vietnam War-inspired "8th of November," as well as two other songs that reached the top 40. Joining the duo on this album were Cowboy Troy, Wilson, and Kris Kristofferson. Big & Rich's third studio album, Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace, produced the duo's first Number One single, "Lost in This Moment." After this album, both members went on hiatus and released solo albums, also charting solo singles in the country top 40: Rich with "Shuttin' Detroit Down" and Kenny with "Long After I'm Gone."



Prior to Big & Rich's foundation, John Rich was a founding member of the band Texassee, which later became Lonestar.[1] Rich played bass guitar in the band and alternated with Richie McDonald on lead vocals, in addition to co-writing the band's second Number One hit, "Come Cryin' to Me."[2] Following the band's first two albums for BNA Records, Rich was fired from Lonestar in 1998.[3]

Big Kenny was signed to Hollywood Records in 1998,[4] where he recorded a rock album called Live a Little a year later.[5] Although one of its songs was featured in the soundtrack to the film Gun Shy,[6] Live a Little was shelved, and Hollywood Records held the rights to the songs for five years.[5] Big Kenny then befriended John Rich after meeting him at a club,[2] and the two began writing songs together. Big Kenny and John Rich's songwriting collaboration was "I Pray for You," which they wrote in October 1998.[7]

Following his departure from Hollywood Records, Big Kenny also recorded in a short-lived band called luvjOi,[8] whose lead guitarist Adam Shoenfeld and drummer Larry Babb would later become part of Big & Rich's road band.[9] In 2000, Rich began recording as a solo artist as well. He charted two singles of his own — "I Pray for You" and "Forever Loving You," which respectively reached #53 and #46 on the U.S. country singles charts[10] — but his debut album, Underneath the Same Moon, was also shelved.[3]

The two then founded the MuzikMafia (an abbreviation for Musically Artistic Friends in Alliance),[11] a roundtable aggregation of singer-songwriters including Cowboy Troy, James Otto, Gretchen Wilson and Shannon Lawson.[8][12] This group held its first official show at a Nashville, Tennessee nightclub in 2001.[13]

One of Big & Rich's first outside cuts was "She's a Butterfly," which was recorded by Martina McBride[8] on her album Martina and featured backing vocals from the duo.[14] Manager Marc Oswald suggested that Rich and Big Kenny begin recording as a duo. Rich was apprehensive at first, as Rich had been told by BNA staff that he was "too rock for country" and was unsure of what major labels would think of Big Kenny.[15] After attending a songwriting seminar, the two began recording songs together. After the two recorded a demo of "Holy Water," Rich was convinced that the duo would be successful.[16] The duo then met with Paul Worley, a record producer who was then the head of creative affairs at Warner Bros. Records Nashville, who signed Big & Rich to a recording contract in late 2003.[8]


Horse of a Different Color

Big Kenny and John Rich then began writing songs for their debut album. Among these was "Wild West Show," which they wrote before a trip to Deadwood, South Dakota. The duo decided to use wild West imagery to convey "an argument between a man and a woman."[17] In February 2004, it was released as the duo's debut single,[8] going on to peak at #21 on the Billboard country singles charts.[12] It was the first release from the duo's debut album Horse of a Different Color.[8]

The album's second single release was "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." For this song, the duo employed Deaton-Flanigen Productions, a music video directing duo composed of Robert Deaton and George Flanigen IV.[18] Deaton-Flanigen and Oswald, along with the duo, decided to make "a big, big show of a video," featuring cameo appearances from Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy, as well as a marching band and a dancing troupe.[18] Although the song only reached #11 on the country singles charts,[12] the video was the most-requested on the television networks Country Music Television (CMT) and Great American Country (GAC) for four weeks.[19] ESPN also used the song as the theme music for its World Series of Poker.[20] Following the album's release, Big & Rich began touring with Tim McGraw.[21]

"Holy Water" was the third single release, reaching #15 on the country singles charts.[12] The duo wrote this song about Big Kenny's sister Charlene, a domestic abuse victim.[22] Finishing off the album's single releases was "Big Time" at #20.[12]

The album was met with generally positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic called it "wilder and stranger than most contemporary country albums of 2004,"[23] and Chris Willman said that "the disc really flies when Big & Rich just honor the straight-up rowdiness of Bocephus."[24]

Comin' to Your City

Their second album, Comin' to Your City, was released on November 15, 2005.[8] The first single, "Comin' to Your City" received a similar reaction as "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" had a year earlier, although rather than poker, ESPN utilized an altered version of the song as the opening theme for their popular Saturday program College GameDay. However, the song only peaked at #21, their third single to barely miss the top 20.

Their next single, "Never Mind Me", achieved even less success on the charts, only peaking at #34. However, the third single from Comin' to Your City, "8 November", while only peaking at #18, garnered the duo nominations for the CMA Awards, Grammy Awards, and the ACM Awards. The song was inspired by the story of Niles Harris. A subsequent documentary titled "November 8: a true American story of honor" was released also, debuting on Great American Country television network over the July 4 weekend. The documentary tells the story of Niles Harris and shows the making of the music video for the single.

During a benefit concert held on October 9, 2006 in Atlanta, GA to raise money for the construction of the 173d Airborne Memorial, Big & Rich were awarded the status of Honorary Members of the 503d Regiment of the 173d Airborne Brigade. The concert was the subject of a documentary on Great American Country in November 2006.

Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace

In early 2007, the duo released "Lost In This Moment", which was the lead-off single to their third album, Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace.[8] "Lost in This Moment" became the duo's fastest-rising single, becoming their first top-10 single in June 2007 and their first Number One in July 2007. The song also began receiving airplay on adult contemporary radio and became their first chart entry for that format, reaching #12. They released their second single, "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace" to country radio in August 2007, although it failed to make an impact on the charts, becoming (at the time) their lowest-peaking single behind "Never Mind Me". In November 2007, they released "Loud" after premiering it on the CMA Awards, which failed to reach the Top 40 on the country charts.

Collaboration and special appearances

Since their first collaboration with Martina McBride in 2003, the duo has appeared on several other albums, and has have many guests for their own albums. Horse of a Different Color featured MuzikMafia members Cowboy Troy ("Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich) written about the life & times of Ritchie Gerdes " and "Kick My Ass") and Gretchen Wilson ("Saved"), as well as McBride herself on "Live This Life". Wilson and Cowboy Troy then appeared on Comin' to Your City on the track "Our America". Their third album featured John Legend on "Eternity" and Wyclef Jean on "Please Man", as well as Lil Jon on a remix of "Loud" featured on the album's iTunes release. Legend played the piano and sang a verse during the duo's performance of "Lost in This Moment" at the 2007 ACM Awards.

Big & Rich co-wrote several songs and provided background vocals on several cuts from Cowboy Troy's two Warner Bros. releases: 2005's Loco Motive and 2007's Black in the Saddle. The duo have also written several cuts on all three of Wilson's albums, as well as Jason Aldean's singles "Hicktown" and "Amarillo Sky", the latter of which was originally cut by McBride & the Ride. Rich has also co-written for Wynonna Judd, Faith Hill, and Keith Anderson, while Big Kenny wrote Tim McGraw's 2007 Number One hit "Last Dollar (Fly Away)". Rich has also produced albums for several MuzikMafia members, including Wilson, Cowboy Troy, and James Otto, as well as Jewel's 2008 country album Perfectly Clear.

In 2006, Big & Rich joined Wilson and Van Zant on Hank Williams, Jr.'s "That's How They Do It in Dixie". The duo also contributed to Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur with a cover of John Lennon's "Nobody Told Me". Then, in June 2007, the duo was featured in a duet with rock band Bon Jovi on their Lost Highway album. The song, titled "We Got It Going On", was selected as a promotional song for the Arena Football League's 2007 season.

The 2008 compilation Imus Ranch Record included a Big & Rich cover of the Beastie Boys' "Fight For Your Right To Party".


Rich stated in an interview that Big Kenny is recovering from a preexisting injury, which led to the decision for the duo to take a hiatus until 2009. Rich released the album Son of a Preacher Man for Warner Bros. in March 2009.[25] It includes the singles "Another You" and "Shuttin' Detroit Down," the latter of which reached #12 on the country charts. Big Kenny, meanwhile, released the solo single "Long After I'm Gone," which has also become a Top 40 country hit, as well as a new album, The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy on November 10, 2009.


Big & Rich began talking of returning and are playing a concert at New Jersey's Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden for local radio station 92.5 WXTU's Anniversary show.[26]

Big & Rich are performing at this year's Great Mississippi Valley Fair, in Davenport, Iowa, on August 7, 2009, WeFest in Detroit Lakes, MN on August 8, 2009, The State Fair in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on August 11, 2009, and the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa on August 16.[27] Other appearances on the 2009 reunion tour include an appearance at the "Jam in the Valley" in Varysburg, New York and at the Jamboree in the Hills in Ohio.

Big & Rich released their first Greatest Hits on September 29, 2009.


Studio albums


  • Las Vegas (TV series) - Season 2, Episode 24: Centennial (2005)
  • The 8th of November: A True American Story of Honor (2006) (Documentary)
  • NASCAR 08 - Soundtrack (2007) (Videogame)


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Lonestar biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 14
  3. ^ a b "Character profile: John Rich". USA Networks. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 11
  5. ^ a b Murray, Noel (2000-10-16). "Feeling the Luv After departing Hollywood Records, "Big Kenny" Alphin moves on". Nashville Scene: p. 1. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  6. ^ Phares, Heather. "Gun Shy Soundtrack review". Allmusic. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 15
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Loftus, Johnny. "Big & Rich biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  9. ^ Alphin, Rich and Rucker, p. 12
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 350. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  11. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 30
  12. ^ a b c d e Whitburn, p. 49
  13. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 33
  14. ^ (2003) Album notes for Martina by Martina McBride [CD booklet]. RCA Records (54207).
  15. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, pp. 56-57
  16. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 62
  17. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, pp. 65-66
  18. ^ a b Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 86
  19. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 90
  20. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 91
  21. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 92
  22. ^ Rich, Big Kenny, Rucker, p. 93
  23. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Horse of a Different Color review". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  24. ^ Willman, Chris (14 May 2004). "Horse of a Different Color review". Entertainment Weekly.,,634073,00.html. Retrieved 8 March 2010. 
  25. ^ CMT News
  26. ^
  27. ^

Further reading

  • John Rich, Big Kenny, Allen Rucker (2007). All Access: Big & Rich. Nashville: Center Street Press. ISBN 978-1599957173. 

External links


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