Nobody's accusing John Rich of being lazy. He's got a new Big & Rich album, "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace," coming out June 5. He co-produced Gretchen Wilson's new set, "One of the Boys,
Nobody's accusing John Rich of being lazy. He's got a new Big & Rich album, "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace," coming out June 5. He co-produced Gretchen Wilson's new set, "One of the Boys," and helmed John Anderson's "Easy Money." His next trick? Jewel's new album.
"It's freakin' awesome, man -- she is probably one of the greatest American singer/songwriters we've ever had, in my opinion," Rich tells Billboard.com about the project, which they're "finishing up right now. I'd say you'll hear new music from Jewel by the end of the year. Every label in Nashville is talking to her now."
Rich says Jewel approached him about working together, telling him that she wanted "to make an album geared more towards country, 'cause I just love country. I said, 'Like what?' and she played me 15 songs in a day. I said, 'Yep, I would say that's Jewel country right there.' So we went in and made an album."
What makes the Jewel project distinct for Rich, however, is that he's serving solely as a producer rather than collaborating on the songs. "I tried to write with her," he explains, "and I couldn't even get to that spot in my head. She is such an intricately detailed, deep, multi-layered lyricist. It's mind-boggling, some of the stuff she writes. And her voice is just alien; nobody sounds like Jewel."
Rich's other major project is also due June 5 -- a book, "Big & Rich: All Access," which comes with a companion DVD. Rich and Big Kenny worked on the photo-heavy 256-page tome with country music journalist Allen Rucker, and Rich says it's a nice adjunct to the duo's body of work.
"It explains how this whole thing works," he says. "People see Kenny, they see me, then they hear it and say 'What the hell is going on here? How does that work?' When you get through reading the book, seeing the pictures, watching the DVD part of it, you will understand better how this all came together."
Big & Rich play Country Thunder USA tomorrow (May 24) in Waxahachie, Texas, and start a summer tour June 8 in Pryor, Oklahoma.
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