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Big & Rich

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Biography

A pair of gonzo country showmen initially shunned by the Nashville mainstream but eventually becoming the face of Music City as the 2000s drew to a close, Big & Rich were the most unlikely country success story of the new millennium. They didn't appear from nowhere, but when Horse of a Different Color exploded in 2004, it sure seemed like they did, memories of John Rich's time in Lonestar vanishing, along with any trace of Big Kenny's years struggling on the fringes of major-label studios. In its place was something cheerfully, grotesquely super-sized, happy to revel in a bad taste that camouflaged exactly how eclectic the duo was, how Big & Rich happily pushed hip-hop braggadocio into their rocking country, building their music on chant-along sports anthems and ballads, the former showcasing their humor, the latter their sentimentality. Soon after "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" because a smash, Big & Rich started firing out hits, not just as performers but as writer/producers, turning Gretchen Wilson into a star, assisting in John Anderson's comeback, and supporting novelties like country-rapper Cowboy Troy. Their oversized, out-of-control train steamrolled throughout the back half of the '90s, with Rich slowly ingratiating himself in the establishment -- appearing as a judge on Nashville Star, the country American Idol knockoff -- and Big Kenny once again turning toward the fringes, only this time working with the added benefit of being able to have his music be heard. If Big & Rich seemed like an ungainly match, it's because they came from quite different backgrounds: Rich taking the traditional Music City path via Lonestar, and Big Kenny Alphin working as a pro songwriter, dabbling in both country and rock. They paired up in 1998, starting a regular performing group called the MuzikMafia, which appeared at a Nashville club on a regular basis for several years. Big & Rich worked on new material, both as a team and separately, building a reputation that started to crest in 2003, when Martina McBride recorded their "She's a Butterfly." Soon, the duo signed with Warner Nashville, which released their first single, "Wild West Show," early in 2004 with the full-length Horse of a Different Color appearing that spring. Thanks to the near-novelty "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)," a boisterous blend of rockin' country and old-school rap, the album turned into something of a phenomenon and Big & Rich were ready to seize this opportunity, pushing themselves and their MuzikMafia. First out of the gate was Gretchen Wilson, whose 2004 debut, Here for the Party, was produced by Rich, who also wrote many of the songs, including its hit "Redneck Women." The group's country rapper comrade Cowboy Troy was next in line, releasing his debut in 2005. By the time Big & Rich released their sophomore album, Comin' to Your City, in time for the holiday season of 2005, they were dominating country music, with Rich in particular popping up all over the place, producing John Anderson's comeback and judging Nashville Star. Comin' to Your City showed signs of Big & Rich turning their schtick into formula, but the record went into the Top Ten and had several hits. The group's momentum didn't slow until 2007, when their third album, Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace, performed only respectably. Big & Rich decided to devote 2009 to solo projects, with Rich's Son of a Preacher Man appearing in the spring and Kenny's Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy in the fall, followed by a hits collection of the group's first three albums. The duo reunited in 2012 as Big & Rich for their fourth studio album, Hillbilly Jedi, which featured a pair of songs co-written with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi was also instrumental in getting clearance from George Lucas to use the term "Jedi" in the album title). Hillbilly Jedi didn't do much on the charts; it entered Billboard's country charts at four and the Billboard 200 at 25, and only the lead single, "That's Why I Pray," made waves, with the subsequent singles failing to crack the Top 40. The duo quickly returned to the studio, working on their fifth album throughout 2013. By the time 2014 arrived, Big & Rich severed ties with Warner and started their own label, also called Big & Rich. The first release on the label was the single "Look at You," which appeared in early 2014 and went into the Billboard country Top 20. The full-length Gravity saw the comedic duo opting for a softer, melodic direction; it was released in September 2014. In April 2017, the duo issued the single "California" in anticipation of the release of their sixth studio LP. Released on September 15, 2017, Did It for the Party debuted at two on Billboard's Country Albums chart. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Albums

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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)
  3.   Lost in This Moment
  4.   California
  5.   8th of November
  6.   Run Away with You
  7.   Wild West Show
  8.   Big Time
  9.   Look at You
  10.   That's Why I Pray
  11.   Comin' to Your City
  12.   Lovin' Lately
  13.   Turns Me On
  14.   Same Ol' Situation (S.O.S)
  15.   You Shook Me All Night Long
  16.   Our America
  17.   Holy Water
  18.   Kick My Ass
  19.   Deadwood Mountain
  20.   Party Like Cowboyz
  21.   Lose a Little Sleep
  22.   Eternity Intro by John Legend
  23.   Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)
  24.   Fake ID by Gretchen Wilson
  25.   Love Train
  26.   Find A Heart
  27.   The Freak Parade
  28.   Rock the Boat
  29.   Saved
  30.   Lie Cheat or Steal
  31.   Caught Up in the Moment
  32.   Live This Life
  33.   Soul Shaker
  34.   Cheat On You
  35.   Nobody Told Me
  36.   Loud
  37.   When the Devil Gets the Best of Me
  38.   Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace
  39.   The Bob Song
  40.   Wake Up Wanting You
  41.   Smoke in Her Eyes
  42.   Get Your Game On
  43.   Lay It All On Me
  44.   The Man I Am Right Now
  45.   You've Got to Fight for Your Right to Party
  46.   Please Man by Wyclef Jean
  47.   You Never Stop Loving Somebody
  48.   Faster Than Angels Fly
  49.   Blow My Mind
  50.   20 Margaritas
  51.   Never Mind Me
  52.   Blue Christmas
  53.   Six Foot Town
  54.   Congratulations (You're a Rockstar)
  55.   Did It for the Party
  56.   I Came to Git Down
  57.   Thank God for Pain
  58.   Rollin' Along
  59.   Brand New Buzz
  60.   Gravity
  61.   M-E-D-L-E-Y of the Hillbilly Jedi
  62.   'Cause I Play Guitar
  63.   Can't Be Satisfied
  64.   Born Again
  65.   Woodstock
  66.   Filthy Rich
  67.   I Pray for You
  68.   Real World
  69.   Drinkin' 'Bout You
  70.   Never Been Down
  71.   Don't Wake Me Up
  72.   Slow Motion
  73.   Intro
  74.   Leap of Faith
  75.   Freedom Road
  76.   The Long Way Home
  77.   Funk in the Country
  78.   We Came to Rawk
  79.   No Sleep
  80.   That Kind of Town
  81.   Last Words
  82.   Everybody's Rockin'
  83.   High Five
  84.   Radio
  85.   Jalapeño
  86.   My Son by The Isaacs
  87.   Never Far Away
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