A pair of gonzo country showmen initially shunned by the Nashville mainstream but eventually becoming the face of the Music City as the 2000s drew to a close, Big & Rich were the most unlikely country success story of the new millennium. They didnít appear from nowhere, but when Horse of a Different Color exploded in 2004, it sure seemed like they did, memories of John Rich's time in Lonestar vanishing, along with any trace of Big Kenny's years struggling on the fringes of major-label studios. In its place was something cheerfully, grotesquely super-sized, happy to revel in a bad taste that camouflaged exactly how eclectic the duo was, how Big & Rich happily pushed hip-hop braggadocio into their rocking country, building their music on chant-along sports anthems and ballads, the former showcasing their humor, the latter their sentimentality. Soon after "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)" because a smash, Big & Rich started firing out hits, not just as performers but as writer/producers, turning Gretchen Wilson into a star, assisting in John Anderson's comeback, and supporting novelties like country-rapper Cowboy Troy. Their oversized, out-of-control train steamrolled throughout the back half of the '90s, with Rich slowly ingratiating himself in the establishment -- appearing as a judge on Nashville Star, the country American Idol knockoff -- and Big Kenny once again turning toward the fringes, only this time working with the added benefit of being able to have his music be heard.