Big Kenny” Alphin and John Rich were an odd couple from the beginning, united by complementary differences and a shared go-for-broke attitude. Their MO was unpredictability—they could switch from honky-tonk or serious balladry to hard rock or hip-hop at a moment’s notice. For a generation of country fans accustomed to the anything-goes iPod-shuffle spirit, Big & Rich was a ready-made fit.
The duo is now on a recording hiatus while each member pursues solo projects (they did tour together over the summer), so now is an apt moment to take a look back at the progress this self-described “freak parade” has made. Given the kaleidoscopic source material, Greatest Hits is a tad disappointing in its straightforwardness—the singles are laid out chronologically, with a handful of standout album tracks tacked on to the end. (An expanded version is available at bigandrich.com.) But it nonetheless demonstrates this duo’s secret weapon—a range that can encompass party-time numbers like “Comin’ to Your City” to the wedding-day ballad “Lost in This Moment” with equal commitment.