Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big and Richand Lovin' It; This Country Duo Is Having Fun, Even When They're Serious

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big and Richand Lovin' It; This Country Duo Is Having Fun, Even When They're Serious

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF VRABEL

Nutball country duo Big and Rich gleefully raised some stylistic hell with its 2004 debut, Horse of a Different Color; it was a little bit country, a little bit hip-hop and a whole lot rock 'n' roll - or, as the duo calls it: "country music without prejudice." Big and Rich's calling cards were shiny, glitzy videos, phrases such as "save a horse, ride a cowboy" and "put a little bang in your yin yang," a traveling carnival that included a 6-foot-5 black cowboy rapper and a guitar emblazoned with the slogan, "Love everybody." In short, they often seemed to be not so much divorced from commonly accepted Music Row country as doing a merry two-step on its broken remnants.

But despite their zany past, it's a somber, thoughtful Big Kenny Alphin and John Rich who wrote 8th of November, their new single about a Vietnam vet they ran into "when we were playing a little honky-tonk in South Dakota." From his Nashville home base, Big Kenny talked about the single, his commitment to making joyful noises and why he doesn't have nearly enough friends on his MySpace account.

Q: 96,000 friends isn't enough?

Not at all! There are, what, 260 million people in the U.S.? We'd like to be friends with all of them. It's been a tradition for us, since the very beginning, to stop about a third of the way through our set and ask people to find someone they don't know standing to their left or right and introduce themselves. Every one of those people standing there know who John and I are, but they don't know who's standing beside them. It's the least you can do, but heck, it makes everybody realize that we're all just the same. And that might be the person who notices you the next time you're broke down on the side of the road.

Q: What was the genesis of 8th of November?

The genesis was a man we met up in Deadwood, S.D., Niles Harris. He was a bartender when John and I were up there playing, before we got our record deal. We struck up a strange friendship, and he told a story from when he was 19 years old - Nov. 8, 1965 - on his first major hump in Vietnam. He was in the lead brigade, the 173rd Airborne, and wham, they were ambushed by over 1,200 Viet Cong. …

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