Big & Rich's Big Kenny Alphin says his second solo album, "The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy," is the work of "a man on a mission."
The album's 10 tracks -- including the first single, "Long After I'm Gone" -- are just a sampling of the "couple hundred songs" Big Kenny has written since he completed work on his Last Dollar studio, a component of the University of Creativity he's built up on the Nashville spread he calls home. "I confined myself to a time of thinking and praying and contemplating the things that really made a difference to me," he tells Billboard.com. "I figured if I'm gonna get out there and do something, I better say something that might mean something to some people.
"And then, man, it just started exploding from there. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote, learning my studio, just constantly working and trying to make something that sounded sonically cooler."
Big Kenny, who also had his spine repaired last year from injuries suffered in a 2001 car accident, took more than the music in-house for "The Quiet Times...," too. After butting heads with Big & Rich's label, Warner Bros., he decided to strike out on his own, starting his own Love Everybody Music LLC and signing on with Red Light Management and the Bigger Picture Group for promotion and marketing.
"I had to work for what was right for me," he explains. "I'd made all this music, and I didn't know how I was gonna be able to put it out. But Big Kenny wanted to speak. When I feel that way, nothing can hold me back."
Big Kenny co-produced "The Quiet Times...," due out Nov. 10, with Chris Stone, who engineered the last two Big & Rich albums. His songwriting collaborators included 3 Doors Down's Brad Arnold, Ben Moody (Evanescence, We Are the Fallen), Richie Supa and Muzik Mafia member Jon Nicholson. He has nine Rockin' For a Reason concert dates scheduled into November, starting Oct. 21 in Live Oak, Fla., and he's been busy making videos for "The Quiet Times..." songs that will be shown on his BigKenny.tv web site.
Big & Rich, meanwhile, remain on a recording hiatus, even though he and John Rich continue to play shows together.
"He's focusing on his thing, and I'm focusing on my thing," Big Kenny explains. "We don't want to confuse them. When John gets to a point where he would have the time and that fits in when I have the time, we have to get together and write. We have to have new material. I accept that we're both very creative guys that are gonna do other things. Call me the will.i.am of country music, or the Jack White of country music; I'm gonna make creativity wherever I can, whenever I'm drawn to it."