Big and Rich

WILLIAMSBURG -- After a year off to pursue separate projects, Big and Rich are reuniting.

And it couldn't be soon enough for some fans.

"I'm kind of curious as to what we're going to see," said WTCM Radio Host Carey Carlson. "I think we are in for a big show."

The genre-bending country duo known for hits like "Lost in This Moment," "Holy Water" and "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" will make a stop at the Turtle Creek Casino Thursday with country rapper Cowboy Troy. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $70, $55 and $40.

Formed in 1998, Big and Rich includes ex-Lonestar vocalist John Rich and songwriter "Big" Kenny Alphin, who once led a band called luvjOi. After a slow start, the pair was among the nominees for the 2005 CMT Music Awards and two years later scored their first No. 1 airplay single, "Lost in This Moment." Their third album, "Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace," was released in 2007 and debuted at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.

Currently on the Warner Bros. Nashville label, the duo continues to win fans with their slogan, "Prejudice should not exist in music," and their mix of traditional country sounds with rock, rap, soul and reggae.

"Country is the new pop because you can fit a lot of different genres within it and these guys definitely take it to someplace else," Carlson said. "The two of them are diverse characters."

The son of a preacher and a powerful Nashville producer who served as a judge on the 2008 version of NBC's "Nashville Star," Rich is also known for his work for the Republican Party. His solo songs include "Raisin' McCain," which he performed at a John McCain campaign rally, and "Shuttin' Detroit Down," which premiered in January on Detroit's WYCD-FM. The chorus of that song begins: "In the real world, they're shuttin' Detroit down while the boss-man takes his bonus and jets on out of town."

Alphin, whose mother was a church pianist, built homes in Virginia before buying a guitar and teaching himself to play.

Together the musicians started the Muzik Mafia, a now legendary Tuesday night jam session in Nashville that has attracted everyone from Bon Jovi to Jewel. One of the regulars at the informal sessions was "Cowboy Troy," who drove down as often as he could from his shoe sales job in Dallas. On Thursday Troy will open for the duo with his blend of country and rap he calls "hick-hop."

Getting the musicians to Traverse City on their reunion tour is a bit of a coup, said Carlson.

"I hope this show is everything people are going to expect from it," she said.

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