DIARY - 29 AUGUST 2007 - BIG & RICH CD REVIEW
REVIEW - 2007
BIG & RICH
BETWEEN RAISING HELL AND AMAZING GRACE (Warner Bros).
of the not so subtle signposts of success is polarising music critics
and radio and still topping the charts.
Nashville nouveau country duo Big & Rich scored the trifecta with
its third album - especially on banjo driven reggae tune Please
Man featuring John Rich's co-writer Wyclef Jean.
The other polar cap is a stomping cover of generic AC-DC relic You
Shook Me All Night Long, dismissed by purists as fecund fodder for
rock radio's familiarity freaks.
Big Kenny Alphin, 49, and former Lonestar singer John Rich, 39, revolutionised
the Nashville mainstream at the start of the new millenium by injecting
rap and hip-hop into their chart candy.
peers, they utilised TV as their surrogate radio on videos laden with
a vast cast of freaks and cosmic curios.
Here the duo initiates a retro refresher by reverting to a vinyl-like
A side and B side - the first six tracks veer from ballads to mid tempo
and the second sextet kicks like a steroid charged mule.
Strategic sequencing of wedding fuelled first single Lost In This Moment,
replete with harmonic bliss as its entrée, is no surprise.
It became Big & Rich's first Billboard #1 chart hit and helped fuel
hefty sales of this album.
Equally effective is pairing of the spiritual title track and sibling
Faster Than Angels Fly - a fatalistic narrative resurrecting memories
of Billy Joe Shaver epic When Fallen Angels Fly.
"Well they burned the candle at both ends/ as they danced into the
flame/ making love and making plans/ driving Mother Mary insane/ strong
as the beads of a rosary/ never too young to die."
It segues into another faith driven Kenny penned couplet Eternity -
with John Legend on piano - and whiskey & pills soaked redemption
requiem When The Devil Gets The Best of Me.
It's the calm before the rocky B-side opener - the hook heavy road anthem
Radio - and bookend finale Loud.
The macho clout is punctuated by the anthemic, faith driven You Never
Stop Loving Somebody and infectious psychedelic flashback of Please
Man, torn from the Zappa template.
So is this worth the ticket?
Well, yes, it takes country to another peak without poisoning its roots
and fans flames for stable mates Gretchen Wilson and stone country icon
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