John Rich and Kenny Alphin merged talents to create one of country music's most attention-getting duos – Big & Rich. The two met in 1998. John was fresh off a stint with the country group Lonestar, embarking on a solo country career. Meanwhile, Kenny had just launched a band called luvjOi on the heels of a failed solo record deal.
After three writing appointments scheduled for the duo went unmet, the two finally made an appointment at which they penned the song "I Pray for You," which John recorded as part of another solo endeavor that never saw the light of day. John and Kenny (a.k.a. "Big Kenny") persisted, became friends and continued as collaborators. Their weekly Tuesday night jam sessions at Nashville's Pub of Love became known as the Muzik Mafia.
As songwriters, they landed a cut on Martina McBride's self-titled album in 2003 with the song "She's a Butterfly." Soon after, they were signed to Warner Bros. Nashville as Big & Rich. The duo formally debuted in 2003 with the single "Wild West Show." In the spring of 2004, their debut album Horse of a Different Color was garnering attention. The album topped the Billboard country chart and produced the hit single "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy." In 2005, the duo released Comin' to Your City which included the poignant ballad "8th of November." The song's video was nominated for the Country Music Association's Video of the Year award in 2006.
Both Big Kenny and John have since pursued solo careers again. John co-wrote Gretchen Wilson's breakout hit "Redneck Woman" and her follow-up singles, "Here for the Party" and "When I Think About Cheatin'." His other hits as a songwriter include Jason Aldean's "Hicktown" and Faith Hill"s "Mississippi Girl." He also enjoyed solo success with his 2009 single "Shuttin' Detroit Down." Big Kenny released a solo album called The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy in 2009, which featured the single "Long After I'm Gone."
The snarl in his voice sets the tone for Jon Pardi’s California Sunrise. He’s a traditional country singer, bred in the West Coast honky tonks, and he won’t apologize for chasing the dream on his own terms. It might be considered contemporary cool to inject country songs with programmed drums, rap phrasing and poppy melodies. But Pardi isn’t worried about what’s trendy. He’s more concerned with making country music that will last, and California Sunrise successfully hits that target. It’s stocked with classic Nashville melody, blue-collar lyrical themes and authentic country instrumentation – real drums, loud-and-proud fiddles and tangy steel guitar. The album’s 12 songs draw a direct link to such forbearers as Dwight Yoakam, George Strait and Marty Stuart, and it’s intentional.
As Joe Nichols began work on a brand new batch of old-school country music, he found himself looking back for inspiration. Back to his early career, back to true friends and the simple perfection of pure country music … back to things that never get old. From 2002’s Man With a Memory on, Nichols harnessed that passion as a steady hit maker, racking up six Number Ones and eight Top 10s, including chart-topping modern classics like “Brokenheartsville” and “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.” He’s a four-time Grammy nominee, an ACM, Billboard, CMA, and CMT Award winner, and his last album offering, Crickets, kept the success going, sending both “Yeah” and “Sunny and 75” to
Platinum-certified Number One status.
Chris Janson has written singles for Tim McGraw among others, and has played harmonica for Lee Brice. Janson has also recorded a full-length album, Buy Me a Boat, Everybody, through Warner Bros. Records Nashville. The album's title track was a Top 5 hit on the Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, and No. 1 on the country music charts published by Mediabase, in late 2015. Janson's second album for Warner Bros., Everybody, was released in September 2017. Its lead single is "Fix a Drink".
The Texas-native got her start as the winner of Season 4 of NBC’s The Voice, where she soon found success with her singles “The Heart of Dixie” and “Young in America” off her self-titled album on Big Machine Records. She appeared on Thomas Rhett’s “Playing With Fire” of his album Tangled Up (Deluxe) and has made appearances on Blake Shelton’s Ten Times Crazier Tour as well as touring with well-known country superstar Brad Paisley on his Beat This Winter Tour, Thomas Rhett & Brett Eldredge on CMT’s Suits and Boots Tour, Scotty McCreery on his See You Tonight Tour and Hunter Hayes on his We’re Not Invisible Tour."