Earlier this month, John Rich sat down with Outsider to talk about business, country music, and his Fox Business show The Pursuit! While we were chatting, we spoke about who excites the Big & Rich star the most in country music today.
“You know there’s a couple of young guys, I think Kane Brown is really interesting,” said John Rich to Outsider. “Kane is a product of his musical environment, so the music he was hearing growing up is all mashed together. He’s a real deal country boy, he’s really a country guy, but his music has all kinds of elements in it that you wouldn’t typically think would be in a country song. He just makes great music, I think…and on top of that I just know him personally and he’s a very genuine, authentic, kind of a guy. So, I love Kane Brown.”
That’s high praise coming from one of country music’s veterans. Rich didn’t have to think long before mentioning Brown off the top of his head. As an artist who added different elements to his own music in the past, Rich has a soft spot for the 27-year-old.
However, it isn’t just Kane Brown who gets Rich excited when he looks at the country music landscape. In fact, there’s a trio that The Pursuit! host thinks is doing things the real way.
“There’s a girl group, Runaway June that I’m really impressed with, those girls are making great music. [Jennifer] Wayne is actually one of the founding members of that trio. Her grandfather was John Wayne, so she comes from a family with some serious tradition going on. Those girls have a lot of fun, but they are real musicians, real songwriters, real entertainers. I love them too.”
John Rich Says ‘It’s All Up to the Artist’
If anyone knows what it is like to be a bit of an outsider in country music, it’s Rich. He’s fought for his own unique style and sound throughout his career.
Big & Rich, of course, brought us “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy,” but they also have songs such as “Lost in This Moment.” So, no one song or sound can define them. For Rich, that’s a continuation of what has defined the history of the genre.
“Big & Rich is [an] example. When we came out the music industry said, ‘We don’t know what kind of music you’re making, but it’s definitely not country and we don’t like it.’ To me any time the industry really hates some really creative form of music, if they really hate it that means it’s probably great. That’s how I look at it…to say, ‘This person’s not really country and that person’s not really country,’ they don’t understand the history of country music.”
He didn’t stop there either, citing one of country music’s greatest and making his point blunt and simple.
“Conway Twitty was one of the best country singers that EVER sang a country song, but when he showed up everyone said he looked like an Elvis impersonator. You know what I mean? So, basically, screw them, they don’t know what they’re talking about. It’s all up to the artist. The artist makes the music how they see fit, and the audience decides who wins and who loses.”