Tag Archives: John Rich

Discussion: The Trouble with John Rich

We all know of John Rich. He’s the guy from Big & Richwith a silky smooth voice who has a personality that doesn’t match. He has made more than one controversial statement and has an arrogance that likely even he wouldn’t deny. However, the most significant aspect about him, in this forum of Country Universe, is his musical contribution.

As I have been listening to songs to review, I noticed that Rich has connections with at least four of the artists for my consideration. This got me thinking about how he has inserted himself into much of what we hear on country radio today. He’s written songs for and/or produced many artists including Faith Hill, Gretchen Wilson, Jason Aldean, John Anderson, Shannon Brown, Jewel, James Otto, Randy Owen and I’m sure there are others that I’ve excluded. 

When I first heard the music of Big & Rich, I have to admit that I thought it was refreshing and interesting. I enjoyed how they created their own brand of country music by intertwining rock with country. I, however, can say that my infatuation with Big & Rich and their sound is pretty much over. I don’t know if this is due to the fact that I’ve out grown it or if it’s because John Rich seems to be injecting his sound into the music of every artist he can get his hands on, which has turned into John Rich overload.
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Filed under Discussion, Miscellaneous Musings

Say What? – John Rich, Part III

Via The 9513, I learned that John Rich has some problems with American Idol:

“The reason their ratings are going into the toilet right now is because the American public cannot stand when it comes to reality,” Rich said. “You can tell when somebody’s comment was scripted. You can tell when they told an artist, ‘Wear this, and sing that, and do that.’ That’s not the way it’s going to work on this show,” he said of “Nashville Star.”

Rich was on a panel promoting the NBC show during the network’s summer programming event for the press. He is a judge and mentor on the upcoming sixth season of the show, which has moved from USA Network to NBC this year.

“We have to respect the fans’ ears and eyes and give them something that’s for real,” he added. “Don’t try to con them. And I think that’s why ‘American Idol,’ in my opinion, is just dive-bombing. I can’t stand watching it. I wouldn’t want to be on that show now if you gave me a $100 bill.”

American Idol has produced legitimate country stars in Carrie Underwood, Kellie Pickler and Bucky Covington, along with a respectable showing by Josh Gracin. Certainly a stronger cabal than Nashville Star can claim, a show that hasn’t produced a star since Season 1 gave us Miranda Lambert and the long gone Buddy Jewell.

But I find it especially ludicrous for Rich to claim the high ground on reality talent competitions, after overseeing the train wreck that was Gone Country. Rich has a problem with artists being told “Wear this, do this and sing that?” After he made artists shovel manure and cook for his grandma so they could understand what it means to be country? It may have been the highest-rated show in CMT history, but it was because of the spectacle, not the music. Or did winner Julio Iglesias, Jr. score a big radio hit when I wasn’t looking?

And the train wreck is sure to be bigger and better this summer, when Season 2 of Gone Country launches in August. I’m sure he can show Jermaine Jackson and Sebastian Bach how to be serious country artists. There must be some horrible country stereotype he hasn’t exploited yet. Maybe he’ll have them make out with their cousins?


Filed under News, Say What?

100 Greatest Women, #85: Gretchen Wilson

100 Greatest Women


Gretchen Wilson

Never underestimate the power of good timing. When Gretchen Wilson finally landed a recording contract after years of laboring in obscurity, country radio was more hostile to female artists than at any point in its modern history.

When her debut single “Redneck Woman” was released in 2004, Martina McBride was the only female artist who was consistently hitting the top ten with her singles. Two years earlier, when country sales had skyrocketed thanks to massive sales of new albums by superstars Shania Twain, Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill, all of the credit for the boom was given to post-9/11 anthems by Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and Darryl Worley. Country radio shunned Hill, Lee Ann Womack and SHeDaisy for their crossover sounds, and when Natalie Maines uttered her innocuous comment about President Bush in March 2003, the Dixie Chicks were instantly removed from country radio playlists. They were the only female act that was regularly having singles nearing the top of the charts. When “Redneck Woman” finally hit the airwaves in the spring of 2004, women hadn’t been so scarce on the country radio since the early sixties.

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Filed under 100 Greatest Women, Features

Say What? – John Rich, Part Deux

John Rich is apologizing again. It’s been only a month since the last time he scrambled to save part of his fan base. Now, The Tennessean reports that PETA wasn’t pleased by the fox fur he wore on the CMA Awards, and fired off a letter to him stating their displeasure. His response:

“I would like you to please forward my apologies to any of your members that are fans of Big and Rich that took offense to me wearing a fur coat on the CMA awards,” John wrote PETA. “Trust me, it was never my intent to upset anyone. Also, if any of the world class designers that you mentioned in your previous e-mail would like to send me full length faux fur coats, I would be happy to wear them, and when asked by the press or fans, tell them it is a faux fur.

Karl Marx famously observed that history repeats itself – first as tragedy, then as farce. No wonder I can’t stop laughing at this!


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Say What? – John Rich

Reader Roger Newcomb suggested a thread covering recent statements from John Rich of  Big & Rich regarding homosexuality.     The first comment was made on a radio show in Nashville, as Rich was discussing why he supports Fred Thompson for President:

“I think if you legalize [gay marriage], you’ve got to legalize some other things that are pretty unsavory. You can call me a radical, but how can you tell an aunt that she can’t marry her nephew if they are really in love and sharing the bills? How can you tell them they can’t get married, but something else that’s unnatural can happen?”


After receiving some negative feedback over this comment, he issued the following statement:

“My earlier comments on same-sex marriage don’t reflect my full views on the broader issues regarding tolerance and the treatment of gays and lesbians in our society. I apologize for that and wish to state clearly my views. I oppose same-sex marriage because my father and minister brought me up to believe that marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. However, I also believe that intolerance, bigotry and hatred are wrong. People should be judged based on their merits, not on their sexual orientation. We are all children of God and should be valued and respected.”

First, I have to ask how it’s possible that John Rich was brought up with the understanding that marriage is between a man and a woman, when gay marriage wasn’t even on the radar until the past few years.   I was in college by the time people started talking about it, and I’m a lot younger than John Rich.    So I don’t really buy what he’s selling there.

Second, a look back at our country’s history.  Forty years ago, the state of Virginia was actually arguing in front of the Supreme Court that interracial marriage should be a crime.   When they lost, the right of a man and woman to marry regardless of race was finally awarded to all citizens.   That was only forty years ago, friends.   What argument did the trial judge who convicted the couple eight years before that use to justify his decision to sentence them to a year in prison?  This one:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

I’ll leave the debate over the sincerity of his apology and the merits of his original argument to you, readers.    I’m sure you’ll keep the conversation respectful and thoughtful.    Thanks again to Roger for tipping me off on this one.  I hope he’s right about this being a good place for a discussion of this!


Filed under Say What?

John Anderson,Easy Money

John Anderson
Easy Money

By Paul W. Dennis

John Anderson and George Strait are about the only two with a high profile left from the generation of male singers that came to prominence in the early 1980s. Obviously Strait has been the more successful but John Anderson is the superior balladeer and has much the more distinctive voice.

Here, John Anderson returns with his first CD of new recordings in several years, this time with John Rich of Big & Rich serving as producer. Fortunately. Rich stays largely out of the way and lets Anderson focus on that which he does best, as seven of the CD’s eleven songs are ballads.

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Filed under Album Reviews