From start to finish, a Big & Rich concert is a visual and aural experience hard to forget. It is also part tent revival.
From start to finish, a Big & Rich concert is a visual and aural experience hard to forget. It is also part tent revival. "Brothers and sisters, we are here for one reason and one reason only alone -- to share our love of music. I present to you, country music without prejudice," Big Kenny's voice booms out as he channels a Southern fundamentalist preacher on the spoken intro for "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)." The message must be shared. "The [Muzik] Mafia is really about the [growth of] music without prejudice," Kenny says. "We started a ball rolling that has grown in Nashville and across this country like no one could have imagined."
And the ball continues to roll with "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace," due this wek via Warner Bros. On one hand, there's the bare-boned, Texas shuffle version of AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" -- "Every country boy or girl has jammed to AC/DC," John Rich says -- and on the other, there's Wyclef Jean's reggae rap mixed with steel guitar in "Please Man." The new record has definite spiritual leanings -- R&B star John Legend even performs a cappella on a song called "Eternity" -- but there's also the hilarious tale of lost love "WWJD (What Would Jesus Drink?)."
It's the sort of audacious melding of genres with which Big & Rich first hit Nashville and country radio -- like a ton of bricks is an understatement. The unprecedented hybrid (old-school rap, hard rock and dual country harmonies) that the duo delivered on their first two albums was not only unprecedented, but delivered with a cocky swagger that country had rarely seen, give or take from a few veteran outlaws.
Also due this week is a new album from Muzik Mafia member Cowboy Troy, "Black in the Saddle," which he describes as "one of those kinds of records that will -- I would dare say -- push the envelope a little further than people thought we could and probably a little further than some thought we should, but it's a lot of fun. Parts of it sound like Motorhead on horseback, parts of it sound like maybe a revisiting of some Beatles stuff, and some is more orchestral kind of stuff."