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The new country music sensation “Big & Rich” is more than just a “horse of a different color.” Since the release of their debut album, Horse of a Different Colorr, the duo has shocked country audiences with their mix of eclectic musical style, pride in the stereotypical country lifestyle and their penchant for having crazy, goofy fun. They call it “country music without prejudice.”

"Music just shouldn't have limits," Big Kenny, also known as Kenny Alphin, explains the duo’s philosophy in their biography. "We grab them with the humor and the happiness, but then we want them to feel every emotion. And you can do anything you want with a song. You can make people laugh, but you can also make them cry if that's what you're after. And when it's all over they feel better, they feel hope, they feel bright, they feel love."

”Big & Rich” members Big Kenny and John Rich began writing songs together when they were both becoming discouraged because their solo careers had yet to take off. Rich, a former member of the band “Lonestar”, wasn’t having much success as a solo artist. Alphin, who just got into singing full-time in his Thirties, had a record deal as the lead singer of the rock band” luvjOi”, but that band’s album hadn’t produced any hits. So they combined forces. They became friends. They wrote together. They played at each other’s gigs.

Casual shows, at which “Big & Rich” invited other songwriting friends to perform became a weekly event. The artists that participated are known as MuzikMafia. "It was a celebration," Big Kenny says. "We never took money out of it, never charged anybody to come and anybody who had some kind of performance, we'd let them get up there." Nashville-based record labels discovered both Gretchen Wilson, who co-wrote her hit “Redneck Woman” with Rich, and James Otto, a new artist on Mercury Records, thanks to their MuzikMafia performances.

MusikMafia does not discriminate against artists that don’t fit into one genre or another. Anyone can perform, whether they play country, rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop, R&B or another genre ."What we're doing now is American music," Big Kenny explains. "And the most American music format that I know of is country. That audience understands us. People that listen to country music don't just listen to country music. The kids who are coming up listen to Johnny Cash, then Kenny Chesney, then Ludacris or Outkast or Kid Rock. I mean, John's little brother wears a John Deere hat and an Eminem t-shirt."

Big & Rich reflects this philosophy of acceptance and enjoyment of music of all kinds in their album. “Our message is that we love everybody,” Big Kenny says. “I tell everybody that you can be the light or you can fight the dark. The one thing the dark cannot stand is the light. So all you got to do is be the light. Just move forward positively every day. You don’t have to worry about what people don’t like. Just worry about what they like.” / Issue 44 - September 2018
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