Comin' to Your City

Comin' to Your City

4.7 4
by Big & Rich
     
 

Building on the unexpected success of their debut album, MuzikMafia godfathers Big Kenny Alphin and John Rich return with another mélange of sounds, styles, and attitudes. Like a little rockin’ rappin’? Try the funky, slinky workout “Caught Up in the Moment,” about a couple of strangers who meet in an airport and seal the deal at 20,000 feet, to the sound of a howling… See more details below

Overview

Building on the unexpected success of their debut album, MuzikMafia godfathers Big Kenny Alphin and John Rich return with another mélange of sounds, styles, and attitudes. Like a little rockin’ rappin’? Try the funky, slinky workout “Caught Up in the Moment,” about a couple of strangers who meet in an airport and seal the deal at 20,000 feet, to the sound of a howling fiddle and a forcefully strummed acoustic guitar. With a hard-rock stomp, the roiling title track recounts a B&R cross-country road trip filled with partying and playing, with the aim of putting “a little bang in your yin yang.” “Leap of Faith,” fueled by snarling guitars, wailing pedal steel, and a furiously fingerpicked banjo, recounts the grit and determination it takes to reach a long-sought goal, and B&R’s tight, haunting harmony singing adds a real edge of desperation. Topicality may not be what anyone expects from these two party animals, but the power-ballad conceits of the moving “8th of November” add grandeur to a stirring tale well told, of a Vietnam-era soldier’s exploits at home and on the battlefield. And on a bonus track, “Our America,” Big & Rich are joined by fellow MuzikMafia members Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy, for a string-laden, soaring sing-along that blends a tightly harmonized performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” with a reading of the Pledge of Allegiance. Party up, party down, pass the patriotism all around -- it's a good formula, and Big & Rich work it better than anyone has in quite a while.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
At the end of a year where Big & Rich seemingly had a hand in every other record coming out of Nashville -- and when their past was dredged up in the form of Big Kenny's ignored 1999 album Live a Little -- the gonzo country duo unleashed Comin' to Your City, the highly anticipated follow-up to their surprise blockbuster 2004 debut, A Horse of a Different Color. Their omnipresence in 2005 illustrates just how thoroughly Big & Rich, along with their protégée Gretchen Wilson, changed the course of contemporary country in the middle of the decade, helping to usher in music that was bigger, funnier, rowdier, and looser than what was on country radio in the wake of Garth's retirement. Everybody wanted a piece of Big & Rich, including such mainstream divas as Faith Hill, and they had their own pet projects like inept country rapper Cowboy Troy, and they didn't turn down an opportunity to work, so they just flooded the charts. And while such success is a vindication in and of itself, it also raised the stakes for the duo's own record -- a challenge they embrace with their trademark goofball humor on Comin' to Your City. Opening with a perhaps inadvertent salute to Shel Silverstein on the careening "The Freak Parade," the album immediately delves into territory that's weirder than anything on the debut, and the duo continues to push its music to extremes for the rest of the record. This doesn't mean that this is all a freak show -- the stranger moments are stranger, often exhilaratingly so, but the ballads are slicker and the pop tunes are less apologetic than before. Since the gonzo rebel shtick was always an act put on by two Music City pros, this pursuit of the weird and the normal in equal measure benefits the album since they can pull off both attitudes with slick flair. And it doesn't get slicker than "I Pray for You," a slice of anthemic MOR pop that would sound by-the-books in the hands of another act, but the duo gives the song an insistent, assured arrangement that not only places it above most contemporary country-pop of 2005, but makes it better than nearly all adult contemporary of its year, as well. It's not the only straight-ahead moment that works here, either -- "Never Mind Me" has a sweetness straight out soft rock's late-'70s/early-'80s peak, while "Leap of Faith" is underpinned by a genuine melancholy ache that's a little surprising coming from this pair of pranksters. These moments don't dominate the album, however: they anchor a record that's otherwise a pretty wild ride. Sometimes, the partying is a little obvious -- as on the travelogue title track -- but that doesn't mean it's not effective; Big & Rich have the hooks and the studio smarts to make the formula sound infectious. Besides, when there are songs as mind-bending and odd as Big Kenny's old-timey mariachi "20 Margaritas" or his country-psychedelia excursion on "Blow My Mind," it's hard to complain about the occasional glimpse of formula -- and that's not even taking into account such gems as the silly, self-referential "Filthy Rich," the absurd "Jalapeno," or the gleefully annoying "Soul Shaker," nor does it quite convey how the awkwardly jingoistic military tale "8th of November" (proof that every mainstream country album in 2005 needs a patriotic anthem) is subverted by "Our America," where Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson, and Cowboy Troy cut-and-paste American tunes, slogans, and clichés into a freak-pack national anthem. It's things like this that make up for the lack of a flat-out stunner along the lines of "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)." After all, when an album has so many hooks, good and bad jokes, real and affected weirdness, it's hard to complain: it's better just to sit back and enjoy the show, especially since, for better or worse, there are no better showmen in country or pop in 2005 than Big & Rich.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2005
Label:
Warner Bros / Wea
UPC:
0093624947028
catalogNumber:
49470
Rank:
56104

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Big & Rich   Primary Artist
Eric Darken   Percussion
David Angell   Violin
Brian Barnett   Drums
Dennis Burnside   Synthesizer,Keyboards
John Catchings   Cello
David Davidson   Violin
Connie Ellisor   Violin
Carl Gorodetzky   Violin
Wayne Killius   Drums
Craig Nelson   Bass
Kathryn Plummer   Viola
Mike Rojas   Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,Hammond Organ,Wurlitzer
Pamela Sixfin   Violin
Chris Teal   Violin
Alan Umstead   Violin
Catherine Umstead   Violin
Gary VanOsdale   Viola
Kris Wilkinson   Viola
Paul Worley   Electric Guitar
Jonathan Yudkin   Banjo,Dobro,Fiddle,Mandolin,Strings,Cello,Harp,Octofone
Ron Sorbo   Percussion
Monisa Angell   Viola
Karen Winkelmann   Violin
Cate Myer   Violin
Gerald Greer   Violin
Janet Askey   Violin
Howard Laravea   Synthesizer,Piano,Hammond Organ
Denise Baker   Violin
Carolyn Bailey   Violin
Ethan Pilzer   Bass
Maxwell Abrams   Saxophone
Erin Hall   Violin
Felix Wang   Cello
Adam Shoenfeld   Electric Guitar
John Rich   Acoustic Guitar
Cowboy Troy   Track Performer
Sarighani Reist   Cello
Samuel Bacco   Percussion
Zeneba Bowers   Violin
Justin Tocket   Bass
Mike Johnson   Steel Guitar
Matt Pierson   Bass

Technical Credits

Dennis Burnside   String Arrangements
Carl Gorodetzky   String Contractor
Nashville String Machine   Contributor
Freddy Powers   Composer
Chris Stone   Engineer
Sonny Throckmorton   Composer
Paul Worley   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Jonathan Yudkin   Composer,String Arrangements
Clarke Schleicher   Engineer
Kevin Tucker   Art Direction
Vance Powell   Engineer
Big Kenny   Composer,Audio Production
Andrew Mendelson   Mastering
Gretchen Wilson   Arranger
John Rich   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Lynn Borgus   Groomer
Rodney Clawson   Composer

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