Gone Country 2

Gone Country:John Rich

Texas native John Rich, most recently known as one half of the multi-platinum Warner Bros. duo, Big & Rich, has been honing his songwriting skills for years, making a name for himself as a gifted musician, producer, award winning songwriter and TV host for CMT's new series, Gone Country.

Several years ago, Rich, Big Kenny, and a group of friends began playing out together. What started out as a group of musicians throwing casual jam sessions at a local Nashville haunt, evolved into a band of brothers (and sisters) known as the MuzikMafia. Gradually, the MuzikMafia turned into one of the most exciting scenes in Nashville. Such diverse musical guests as Bon Jovi, Jewel and Stone Temple Pilots among countless country artists have come out to join the Tuesday night jam session. Other founding members include Multi-platinum selling artist, Gretchen Wilson, Warner Bros. artists Cowboy Troy, Shannon Brown and James Otto. Eventually this movement led to the pairing of Rich and Big Kenny -- thus creating "Big & Rich."

Rich's writing credits include the Academy of Country Music Award winning single of the year, "Redneck Woman," along with Gretchen's other two hits "When I Think About Cheatin'" and "Here For The Party," Faith Hill's smash single "Mississippi Girl" and Jason Aldean's single "Hicktown." In addition, he has written several other cuts for Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Clay Walker, Aaron Tippin, Cowboy Troy, and Shannon Brown. Because of his contributions to the songwriting and music industry community, Rich was awarded the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Award in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He is the only artist to receive the award three years consecutively. In June 2007, Rich along with Big Kenny as Big & Rich, released their third album, Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace, which went on to spawn the first number one single for the duo, "Lost In This Moment." Big & Rich's current single, "Between Raising Hell And Amazing Grace" is currently climbing up the charts.

One month after Big & Rich's new album release, Rich and Big Kenny received the President's Award For Excellence in the Arts award recognizing their 2006 single, "8th Of November," which was inspired by the duo's close friend, Niles Harris, a Purple Heart veteran and member of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. The single, was a Top 10 hit in 2006.