Comin’ to Your City by Big & Rich

Horse of a Different Color, the 2004 debut by the duo of Big Kenny and John Rich, was an album-length argument that country music could stretch and reshape its borders to accommodate all sorts of outside influences and ideas, from rap to heavy metal to swing.

In some ways, the duo's follow-up expands that musical open-mindedness even further: check out the disco beats on the hit title cut and "Jalapeño," the ragtime-flavored "Filthy Rich" and Kris Kristofferson's spellbinding spoken introduction to the waltzing Vietnam remembrance "8th of November." But for the most part, this is a more focused effort that skips the rap and metal while repeating the debut's winning combination of dead-serious emotion ("I Pray for You," "Slow Motion") and party-starting irreverence ("20 Margaritas," "Soul Shaker").

Somebody's got to be unafraid to lead the freak parade, the pair sing on "Freak Parade," the off-the-cuff singalong that kicks off the CD. As Comin' to Your City proves, they're still just the guys for that job—Big & Rich make being a little freaky sound perfectly natural.

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