is an Americancountry musicduo composed ofBig KennyandJohn Rich, both of whom are songwriters, vocalists, and guitarists. Before the duos foundation, Rich was bass guitarist in the country bandLonestar, while Kenny was a solo artist forHollywood Records.

Their first studio album,Horse of a Different Color, was released in 2004. This album produced four straight Top 40 country hits, including the number 11Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy), plus collaborations withCowboy TroyGretchen Wilson, andMartina McBride.Comin to Your Citywas released in November 2005 followed by another Top 20 single theVietnam War-inspired8th of November, and two more Top 40 hits. Joining the duo on this album were Cowboy Troy, Wilson, andKris Kristofferson.Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace, released in 2007, produced their only No.1 single,Lost in This Moment. Both before and during the duos hiatus, Rich has worked as a producer and songwriter for several other artists.

After this album, both members went on hiatus and released solo albums in 2009Big KennysThe Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boyand RichsSon of a Preacher Man. These also produced the duos first Top 40 solo entriesBig Kenny withLong After Im Goneand Rich withShuttin Detroit Down. In 2010, Big Kenny released his second solo country album,Big Kennys Love Everybody Traveling Musical Medicine Show Mix Tape, Vol. 1and in 2011, Rich released theextended playsFor the KidsandRich Rocks, the latter of which included the Top 40 country single Country Done Come to Town. Big & Rich reunited in May 2011 to release Fake ID, a cut from the soundtrack to the 2011 filmFootloose. A year later, the duo released their fourth album,Hillbilly Jedi, which produced the Top 20 hitThats Why I Pray. In July 2013, Rich announced that the duo had begun work on their fifth studio album,Gravity, which was released independently.23Another independent album,Did it For the Party, was announced in 2017 for release in September, led by the single California.4

Prior to Big & Richs foundation,John Richwas a founding member of the band Texassee, which later becameLonestar.5Rich played bass guitar in the band and alternated withRichie McDonaldon lead vocals; he also co-wrote their singlesCome Cryin to MeandSay When.6After Lonestar released its second album, Rich departed from the band in 1998, leaving McDonald as the bands sole lead singer.7Kenny Alphin (akaBig Kenny) was signed toHollywood Recordsin 1998,8where he recorded arockalbum calledLive a Littlea year later.9Although one of its songs was featured in the soundtrack to the filmGun Shy,10Live a Littlewas not released, and Hollywood Records held the rights to the songs for five years.9In the meantime,The Mavericksrecorded one of Alphins songs (I Hope You Want Me Too) on their 1998 albumTrampoline,11andDanni Leighrecorded his Beatin My Head Against the Wall on her album29 Nights.12Big Kenny then befriended Rich after meeting him at a club,6and the two began writing songs together. Their first songwriting collaboration was I Pray for You, which they wrote in October 1998.13

Following his departure from Hollywood Records, Big Kenny recorded in a short-lived band called luvjOi,1whose lead guitarist Adam Shoenfeld and drummer Larry Babb would later become part of Big & Richs road band.14In 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 numbers 53 and number 46 on the U.S.Hot Country Songscharts15 but his debut album,Underneath the Same Moon,was not released at the time.7The two then founded theMuzikMafia(an abbreviation for Musically Artistic Friends in Alliance),16a roundtable aggregation of singer-songwriters includingCowboy TroyJames OttoGretchen WilsonandShannon Lawson.117This group held its first official show at aNashville, Tennesseenightclub in 2001.18

Among Big Kenny and John Richs first outside cuts as songwriters wasAmarillo Sky, which was the title track toMcBride & the Rides 2002 albumAmarillo Sky19and later a top 5 hit forJason Aldeanin 2007.20The two also wrote and sang backing vocals on Shes a Butterfly, which was recorded byMartina McBrideon her albumMartina.121After McBride cut this song, manager Marc Oswald suggested that Rich and Big Kenny begin recording as a duo. Rich was apprehensive at first, as he had been told by BNA staff that he was too rock for country and was unsure of what major labels would think of Big Kennys rock influences.22The two began recording songs together at a songwriting seminar. After they recorded a demo ofHoly Water, Rich was convinced that the duo would be successful.23They then met withPaul Worley, a record producer who was then the head of creative affairs atWarner Bros. RecordsNashville, and Worley helped sign Big & Rich to a recording contract in late 2003.1

In 2007,Reservoir Media Managementacquired the publishing rights to Richs and Kennys song catalogs.24

The two then began writing songs for their debut album. Among these wasWild West Show, which they wrote before a trip toDeadwood, South Dakota. The duo decided to usewild Westimagery to convey an argument between a man and a woman.25In February 2004, it was released as their debut single,1going on to peak at number 21 on theBillboardcountry singles charts.17It was the first release from their debut albumHorse of a Different Color.1Following the albums release, Big & Rich began touring withTim McGraw.26

Big & Rich debuted their second single,Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy), at that yearsAcademy of Country Musicawards.27For this song, Big & Rich employedDeaton-Flanigen Productions, a music video directing duo composed of Robert Deaton and George Flanigen IV.28Deaton-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 amarching bandand a dancing troupe.28The song peaked at number 11 on the country singles charts,17and the video was the most-requested on the television networksCountry Music Television(CMT) andGreat American Country(GAC) for four weeks.29Save a Horse was also a minor hit in Germany, reaching number 87 on theMedia Control Charts.30ESPNalso used the song as the theme music for itsWorld Series of Poker.31They and Cowboy Troy performed Rollin (The Ballad of Big & Rich) at theCountry Music Associationawards telecast, where they were also nominated for the Horizon Award. (Now known as the New Artist award, this is awarded to new artists who make significant commercial success from a first or second album.)32

Holy Waterwas the third single release, reaching number 15 on the country singles charts.17The duo wrote this song about Big Kennys sister Charlene, adomestic abusevictim.33Finishing off the albums single releases wasBig Time, which peaked at number 20 in early 2005.17Big & Rich also released a specialIndependence Daysingle titled Our America, with guest vocals from Wilson and Cowboy Troy, which charted for two weeks and peaked at number 44.17

Horse of a Different Colorwas met with generally positive reviews.Stephen Thomas ErlewineofAllmusiccalled it wilder and stranger than most contemporary country albums of 2004,34and Chris Willman ofEntertainment Weeklysaid that the disc really flies when Big & Rich just honor the straight-up rowdiness ofBocephus.35Country Weeklyalso gave a positive review, praising the variety of musical influences and saying that all of the songs worked ridiculously well.36

The duos second album,Comin to Your City, was released on November 15, 2005.1The first single,Comin to Your Cityreceived a similar reaction as Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy) had a year earlier, although rather than poker,ESPNutilized an altered version of the song as the opening theme for its Saturday programCollege GameDay.27The song peaked at number 21.17In its music video, the duo appeared in a guitar-shaped spaceship.37

Their next single, Never Mind Me, reached a peak at number 34. Next came8th of November, while only peaking at number 18, garnered the duo nominations for theCMA AwardsGrammy Awards, and the ACM Awards. The song was inspired by the story of Niles Harris. A subsequent documentary titledNovember 8: a true American story of honorwas released also, debuting onGreat American Countrytelevision 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.

An extended play of live studio performances,Rolling Stone Original, was also released in November 2005.38During a benefit concert held on October 9, 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia 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 onGreat American Countryin November 2006.

Also in 2005, Hollywood Records released Big Kennys debut album and in 2006 BNA Records released Richs.

In early 2007, the duo releasedLost in This Moment, which was the lead-off single to their third album,Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace.1Lost in This Moment became Big & Richs only Number One single, spending two weeks at the top of the country music charts.17The song also began receiving airplay onadult contemporaryradio and became their first chart entry for that format, reaching number 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, peaking at number 37; followup Loud became the duos first single to miss the Top 40.17Another cut from this album, a cover ofAC/DCYou Shook Me All Night Long, also charted at number 59 as a non-single two months before the release of the title track.17

The duo also released three live in the studio extended plays during 2007:Walmart Soundcheck,Rhapsody Originals39andUnplugged at Studio 330.40

In 2008, Rich announced that Big & Rich would go on hiatus while Big Kenny recovered from an existing neck injury. In the meantime, Rich said that he would release a solo album, with Kennys blessing.41Warner Bros. released Richs second solo album,Son of a Preacher Man, in early 2009.42The album produced three singles, including the number 12 country hitShuttin Detroit Down. Later in the same year, Big Kenny releasedThe Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boyvia his own Glotown label, and charted at number 34 with the singleLong After Im Gone.

In 2010, Big Kenny released his second solo album,Big Kennys Love Everybody Traveling Musical Medicine Show Mix Tape, Vol. 1exclusively through and m.43Rich released two extended plays in early 2011:Rich RocksandFor the Kids, both onReprise Records. The former produced his second solo top 40 hit in 2010, Country Done Come to Town, also peaking at number 34.44Big & Rich reunited later in 2011 to record the song Fake I.D. for the soundtrack to the 2011 filmFootloose. It includes a guest vocal from Gretchen Wilson, with whom the duo toured that same year.4546

In 2012, Big & Rich announced that they would release their fourth studio album,Hillbilly Jedi, led by the singleThats Why I Pray. Danelle Leverett, formerly one-half ofThe JaneDear Girls, wrote the song withBlair DalyandSarah Buxton. Rich said that he felt that the song could be the biggest of the duos career.47The single debuted at number 24 on the country charts, the highest debut achieved by a duo since the charts were first tabulated by Nielsen BDS in 1990.48

Preceding the albums release was anextended playby the name ofThats Why I Pray, which featured the single was well as three previously released songs. The EP was only issued onCDand available exclusively atWalmart.49

Released on September 18, 2012, the album produced two more singles, Party Like Cowboyz and Cheat on You, both of which failed to make Top 40. In 2012, Big & Rich were nominated for Vocal Duo of the Year at the CMA Awards and in 2013 at the ACM Awards.

In July 2013, Rich announced that the duo was already working on their fifth studio album.50Kenny revealed that their new material would be more along the lines of the music on their debut album, and that the executives at Warner Bros. Nashville told them that it was their best material in years.51Early in 2014, the duo announced that a new single, titledLook at You, would be sent to radio soon and that the new album would be released later in 2014. Kenny and Rich also formed their own record label, Big & Rich Records, to handle their future musical endeavors.52

On January 28, 2014, the lead off single to the album was released and the album title was revealed asGravity.353On July 28, the albums release date was confirmed to be September 23, 2014. In addition, the track listing and cover art were also revealed the next day.54The duo said that their decision to start their own label was the result of Warner Bros. Nashvilles schedule not allowing forGravityto be released until 2015 at the earliest. Rather than have the project shelved, Big & Rich opted to strike out on their own and release the album sooner. Of the decision to form their own label, Kenny said that its the kind of thing we believed in ten years ago as theMusik Mafia. Just anyway to get the music out there.55The second single fromGravity,Run Away with You, charted at number 11 onCountry AirplayLovin Lately, a duet withTim McGraw, is the third single.

The duo released a new single, California, in April 2017. The song was previously recorded by McGraw on his albumDamn Country Music, and his version featured them on backing vocals. Their sixth studio album,Did It for the Party, followed in September 2017 to largely rave reviews.56

Since their first collaboration with Martina McBride in 2003, the duo has appeared on several other albums. Wilson and Cowboy Troy then appeared onComin to Your Cityon the track Our America. Their third album featuredJohn Legendon Eternity andWyclef Jeanon Please Man, as well asLil Jonon a remix of Loud featured on the albums iTunes release. Legend played the piano and sang a verse during the duos performance of Lost in This Moment at the 2007ACM Awards.

In 2005, the duo contributed vocals to a rerecording of Billy Joe Shavers 1993 song, Live Forever.57Big & Rich also co-wrote several songs and provided background vocals on several cuts from Cowboy Troys two Warner Bros. releases: 2005sLoco Motiveand 2007sBlack in the Saddle. In 2006, theHank Williams, Thats How They Do It in Dixie was released, a single to which Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson andVan Zantcontributed guest vocals.17It debuted one month after the duos own single Never Mind Me.

Rich co-wrote several of Gretchen Wilsons singles, including her debut releaseRedneck Woman. He also co-wrote singles forJason AldeanHicktownAmarillo SkyJohnny Cash),Wynonna Judd(Attitude),Faith HillMississippi GirlLike We Never Loved at AllSunshine and Summertime) andKeith AndersonPickin Wildflowers). Big Kenny wroteTim McGrawLast Dollar (Fly Away), which went to number one in 2007, and co-wrote WilsonsHere for the Partywith Rich. Rich has alsoproducedfor Wilson, Cowboy Troy,James OttoShannon BrownJewel, andthe JaneDear girls.

Since 2005, the duos song Comin to Your City has been used as the opening theme toESPNsCollege GameDay. In 2011, the song was reworked and re-recorded by the duo specifically for the event.58The duo also contributed toInstant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfurwith a cover ofJohn LennonNobody Told Mein 2007. That same year, the duo was also featured in a duet with rock bandBon Jovion theirLost Highwayalbum. The song, titled We Got It Going On, was selected as a promotional song for theArena Football Leagues 2007 season. In 2008, Big & Rich recorded a cover of thefor the compilation albumThe Imus Ranch Record. In 2014, the duo performed a cover of Same Old Situation on a Mötley Cre tribute album. 2015 saw Big & Rich provide background vocals on albums by Tim McGraw and Clint Black. For the McGraw album, the song California was written by John Rich.

Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group -Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)

Video of The Year -Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)

Video of the Year -Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)

Breakthrough Video of the Year -Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)

Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group -Comin To Your City

Vocal Event of the Year – I Play Chicken With the Train

Best Music Video, Short Form -8th of November

Vocal Event of the Year – Thats How They Do It In Dixie

Single Record of the Year -Lost In This Moment

Duo video of the year – Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace

Tearjerker Video of the Year -Lost in This Moment

Blue Collar TV- Season 1, Episodes 10 (Music) & 11 (Partying)

Las Vegas (TV series) Season 2, Episode 24: Centennial (2005)

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Rock On The Net: 49th Annual Grammy Awards – 2007.

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Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers

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