It was a packed house (literally) this week at John Rich’s Nashville home to celebrate some major milestones from Big & Rich’s latest album “Gravity.” Rich and Kenny Alphin have garnered two back-to-back top 10 hits, “Run Away With You” and “Look at You,” the first time the duo has achieved this feat. If that wasn’t enough reason to celebrate, the occasion also marked the act’s biggest first week ever on country radio with their latest single “Lovin’ Lately” featuring Tim McGraw.
When speaking about the success of the album, Rich expressed how devoted the two were to the project, taking on every aspect from co-writing all the songs to producing their own record. “Kenny and I dug down deep on the lyrics, on the production,” he said. “So if you want pure, Big & Rich music, this is us – as ‘us’ as we’ve ever been – and to see that succeed, it’s euphoric.”
And the famous saying “it takes a village” certainly applies to the music business. A crowd of people filled the room in support of Rich and Alphin, from manager Marc Oswald to representatives from Kobalt Music Group, ASCAP and BMI, just to name a few. While the night served as a celebration of Big & Rich’s music milestone, it was clear that it was so much more for these artists and the team that’s supported them along the way. From Oswald referring to them as his close friends to Whitney Daane of Kobalt Music Group commenting how the two “never cease to amaze me,” everyone was honored to celebrate the duo’s success.
As for how it feels to look into a crowd of people who have supported you for years, neither one could be more grateful. “There’s nothing better than to stand in a room of your contemporaries and friends, and most of them you know and recognize their faces for over a decade, that’s the foundations of life,” said Alphin. “No matter what, we’re enjoying every day of what we’re doing, we’re enjoying the people we’re hanging around with. We’re just enjoying the experience.”
But two back-to-back hits isn’t the only major victory to come out of this album. “Gravity” was released on the duo’s very own record label, Big & Rich Records, making the release a particularly special experience. Referring to himself and Alphin as “renegade pioneers,” Rich says the success of the album and its singles is humbling. “You always hope that could happen, but then it actually happens and you go ‘I can’t even believe this is happening right now,’” he said. “This business is something you’ve got to put a lot of sweat, blood and tears and heart and soul into to keep it going,” adds Alphin. “And just to see it keep going is just such an awesome thing.”
The house itself is something to be admired, as it serves as a reflection of all the hard work and dedication poured into a highly accomplished career, with walls covered with photos of Rich posing with the likes of country legends Johnny Cash and George Jones, in addition to countless other important figures (his in-home elevator even looks like life-size photo album). It is the legends bestowed throughout the home that keep the singers inspired and working toward establishing a long-lasting impact in the music world – a piece of advice that Rich has lived by over the course of his career. “I think another thing that keeps you in check is don’t compare yourself to your contemporaries, compare yourself to the greatest of all time,” he said. “You have to compare yourself against the greatest ever if you ever want to be great. For me and Kenny, that’s a lifelong endeavor.”
As for Alphin, perseverance is a motto he continues to strive for and recommends to those trying to make their way through the challenges of the music industry. “Never, ever, ever give up – just one foot in front of the other,” he said. “If you believe it and you keep doing it, other people are going to feel it and believe it too.”
From meeting on Douglas Corner many years ago, to writing an astounding 500 songs together, to enjoying a career breakthrough, Big & Rich already possess a prodigious career together – and they’re only just getting started.