Thursday, May 17, 2007
– Love Everybody: Big & Rich, a spotlight exhibit focusing on the careers of one of country music's most irreverent and innovative duos, will open on June 6 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
When Big Kenny Alphin met John Rich in 1998, both were already music industry veterans with Rich part of Lonestar and Alphin a member of a rock band. They clicked as collaborators and became friends and writing partners, often jamming at each other's shows and those of their friends.
These informal sessions evolved into a weekly Tuesday night gig for a loose aggregation known as the MuzikMafia, whose other members included Cowboy Troy, James Otto and Gretchen Wilson, as well as visual and spoken-word artists. Alphin and Rich caught the attention of Warner Nashville, who signed the duo in 2003. Their good-time blend of country, rock, rap and pop was very much in evidence on their triple-platinum debut CD, "Horse of a Different Color," which spawned the singles "Wild West Show" and "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)."
Big & Rich released their platinum follow-up album, Comin' to Your City, in 2005 and scored hits with the title cut and their tribute to Vietnam veterans, "8th of November." While racking up CD sales, Alphin and Rich have continued to write chart-topping songs for other artists, including Jason Aldean, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Gretchen Wilson. The duo's third CD, "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace, "will be out June 5.
Exhibit highlights include:
Rich's custom-made Epiphone Hummingbird guitar, inscribed with a hand-written 30th birthday message from Big Kenny.
A pair of Rich's Wrangler jeans, customized with rhinestone embroidery done by his grandmother, Ann Rich ("Granny Rich").
Big Kenny's 2000 Guild F-50R guitar, personalized with his motto, 'Love Everybody,' and used in the video for the duo's single "Holy Water" and on the nation-wide, sell-out 2004 stadium tour they shared with Tim McGraw and Martina McBride that year.
Big Kenny's top hat, a reproduction of the one given to him by Niles Harris, the Vietnam veteran who inspired the duo's 2006 single "8th of November."
Love Everybody: Big & Rich, which is included with regular Museum admission, will remain open through December.