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Big & Rich w/ Cowboy Troy & Candy Coburn

Tonight @ Wisconsin State Fair Main Stage, 8 p.m.

Aug. 11, 2009
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How to describe one of country music’s most creative—and controversial—duos? Let’s start with singers-songwriters “Big” Kenny Alphin and John Rich (formerly of Lonestar). They write zany tongue in cheek tunes like “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” and “Comin’ to Your City” while mixing country with rock and hip-hop—Yep; hip-hop. They’ve collaborated with the likes of Wyclef Jean (The Fugees), John Legend, Lil Jon and even Jon Bon Jovi. Must be something about the “Jo(h)n” factor. And they’re at the heart of the MuzikMafia, actually a good-natured group of fellow songwriters and performers who get together weekly in Nashville.

Although they started performing together in 1998, it was their debut album in 2004, Horse of a Different Color that established them as a fast-rising act, country or otherwise. Both are well known for having penned songs for other country artists including husband wife team Tim McGraw and Faith Hill to Martina McBride and Jason Aldean.

The twosome has their serious side with Rich having recorded a heartfelt tribute this year to the wounded warriors of the auto industry with “Shuttin’ Detroit Down.”

Opening the show is Cowboy Troy, known for his “hick hop” sound of mashing up country with rap and rock. If Big & Rich reach for every genre and turn it upside down, Cowboy Troy takes it one step further with his rapping cowboy show. Candy Coburn warms things up with her straightforward country music—the calm leading up to the “storm” of musical genres spilling out all over the stage.


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