Big & Rich -- the duo comprised of "Big" Kenny Alphin and John Rich -- released their first album, Horse of a Different Color, in 2004, and more than a decade later, they remain a steady (if perhaps slightly more subdued) presence in country music.
Throughout their career, Big & Rich have released five major-label studio albums, and taken a three-year hiatus to focus on solo projects. They've released reflective story-focused songs and rowdy barroom romps, and made their mark on the country charts and at country radio. Below, The Boot counts down the duo's five best tunes.
"Run Away With You"From: 'Gravity' (2014)
This 2015 song -- the second single off of Gravity -- is the most current song on this list. It's a straightforward, feel-good ballad about trying to regain an old love's initial spark: "I just wanna run, I just wanna run away with you / And live wide open / Set 'em on fire, crazy like we used to do," Big & Rich sing. "... 'Til we find the love that we fell into / Hey, I just wanna run, I just wanna run away with you."
"Run Away With You" peaked at No. 11 on the charts before the duo's next single was released.
"Holy Water"From: 'Horse of a Different Color' (2004)
The opening to this song's music video makes it clear just how personal a tune it is for Big & Rich: Rich and a woman stand facing the camera, and he says, "This is Charlene, Big Kenny's sister. And we wrote this song for her, and all the people out there like her." "Holy Water" -- which reads like a prayer -- deals with domestic abuse; Rich, too, has a sister who is a victim of domestic violence.
"Lost in This Moment"From: 'Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace' (2007)
There's clearly something about this song -- written by Rich, Keith Anderson and Rodney Clawson -- that connected with listeners because, thus far, the 2007 release is Big & Rich's only No. 1 hit. Maybe it's because everybody loves a sappy groom, and "Lost in This Moment" is written entirely from the perspective of a weepy one on his wedding day.
"8th of November"From: 'Comin' to Your City' (2005)
Kris Kristofferson, a country legend and a veteran himself, introduces "8th of November" in the song's music video. He explains that the tune is the story of Army medic Lawrence Joel, the first African-American to receive the Medal of Honor since 1898, and of one of the many he saved: Niles Harris, "the man who gave Big Kenny his tophat."
"8th of November" is a perfect melding of patriotic pride and country music's classic storytelling lyrics: "On the 8th of November / The angels were crying / As they carried his brothers away / With the fire raining down / And the hell all around / There were few men left standing that day ..."
"Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)"From: 'Horse of a Different Color' (2004)
This song is big, rowdy ... and, let's be honest, slightly ridiculous. While it didn't result in Big & Rich's best chart performance (it peaked at No. 11), "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" is easily the duo's best-known song. Its lyrics simply ask to be sung loudly, and it shows up everywhere: There's a parody version called "Save a Wookie, Ride a Jedi" (by a duo billing themselves as Skinny & Broke, naturally), and the original version has made appearances in everything from Chevy commercials to Magic Mike.