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Big & Rich

Hillbilly Jedi – 2012 (Warner)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Big & Rich

Big & Rich, last heard from with 2009's "Greatest Hits," is a duo that vacillates between musical extremes. Either they're partying like there's no tomorrow, as happens during Cowboyz, or they are the preacher's pets, exemplified by That's Why I Pray. But can these lustful 'Cause I Play Guitar guys, be the same ones that singer tender ballads like Last Words? Apparently so. It's the whole Saturday night vs. Sunday morning paradox, one supposes. Nevertheless, it still sounds strange to hear a rap section on a country record, which happens on Rock The Boat, as well as on many Big & Rich songs over the years.

Big & Rich is simply that unusual bird; a pair of party animals, with hearts of gold. The disc closes with one titled Hillbilly Jedi, which solidifies Big & Rich as modern day, high tech rednecks. (There's nothing scarier than the image of hicks in space, by the way). Even so, Big & Rich always come off as just a little smarter than your average country fellers. The track is actually fairly sophisticated, with a distinctly old school jazz vibe going for it overall. It sounds bluegrass one minute, though, then western swing the next, and is truly ambitious. After the party's over, with empties thrown all about the place, the listener still walks away impressed with it. This album is truly good, and that's no Jedi mind trick.