Hillbilly Jedi

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Hillbilly Jedi
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 18, 2012 (2012-09-18)
GenreCountry, alternative country, country rock, country pop
LabelWarner Bros. Nashville
Warner Music Group
ProducerDann Huff
Big & Rich chronology
That's Why I Pray (EP)
Hillbilly Jedi
Singles from Hillbilly Jedi
  1. "That's Why I Pray"
    Released: May 21, 2012
  2. "Party Like Cowboyz"
    Released: December 3, 2012
  3. "Cheat On You"
    Released: January 22, 2013
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic2.5/5 stars[1]
Country Music Rocks(favorable)[2]
Country Standard Time(favorable)[3]
Country Weekly(favorable)[4]
Great American Country(favorable)[5]
Recording Connection1.5/5 stars[6]
Roughstock3/5 stars[7]
Slant1.5/5 stars[8]

Hillbilly Jedi is the fourth studio album by American country music duo Big & Rich, released on September 18, 2012.[9] It is the duo's first new studio album since Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace in 2007. The album's lead-off single, "That's Why I Pray," was released on May 21, 2012 and was followed by two more singles, "Party Like Cowboyz" and "Cheat On You."[10] Hillbilly Jedi received mixed reviews from critics.


In 2008, just a year after the duo released Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace, John Rich announced that the duo would be going on hiatus so that Big Kenny could recuperate from an old injury. Both members released solo songs during this period before reuniting in mid-2011 to release the single "Fake ID" for the Footloose soundtrack and began to tour. Later that year, the duo announced plans for a new album.[11] Shortly after the release of "That's Why I Pray," Rich went on record as saying that he felt that the song could be the biggest of the duo's career.[12]

Alphin said that the album's title "came out in a writing session we were doing with Richie Sambora and Jon Bon Jovi the other week. They are going to record the song on our new album and a line in the song was "hillbilly jedis with attitude." All of a sudden, Bon Jovi stops and says, "Hillbilly Jedis? That’s it. I’d buy that shirt." We were like, "Hey, that’s about a descriptive as you can get of what we are.""[13] Bon Jovi was instrumental in securing the album's title, even going so far as to call George Lucas to ask for permission once the group realized that the word "jedi" was copyrighted.[14]

Critical reception[edit]

Reviews for Hillbilly Jedi have generally been mixed. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic ended his review by stating "Hillbilly Jedi merely raises one question: weren't Big & Rich better off following their own paths?"[15] In his review for Slant Magazine, Jonathan Keefe mentioned that "the only thing noteworthy about the album is that George Lucas allowed Big & Rich to refer to themselves as Jedis"[8] while Rob Burkhardt, in a similarly negative review, mentioned that the album is "just a recycling of an old schtick, a feeble attempt to revive a party everyone already went home from. And it doesn’t go over well."[6]

Country-focused reviewers have been much more positive. Daryl Addison, in his review for GAC, stated that "on Hillbilly Jedi, the duo is back with a masterful set that is refreshed, renewed and re-focused. Just like they announced on their debut, it’s a celebration of music and it’s great to have them back." [5] Echoing the tone of the former, Country Music Rocks stated that "There is something for everyone on Hillbilly Jedi"[2] while Dan MacIntosh of Country Standard Time similarly stated that "This album is truly good, and that's no Jedi mind trick."[16] Joseph Hudak was positive in his review for Country Weekly, declaring that "Hillbilly Jedi stands as Big & Rich’s strongest and most inspired album since Horse of a Different Color. Entertained Yoda would be."[4] In his modestly positive review for Roughstock, Marc Erickson stated that "if you've never been a fan of their music, chances are you will not become one now as the Hillbilly Jedi are leading a freak parade that never was meant to be 100% wholly mainstream."[7]

Commercial performance[edit]

"That's Why I Pray" debuted at number 24 on the Country charts, the highest debut achieved by a duo since the charts were first tabulated by Nielsen BDS in 1990.[17] The album sold about 17,000 copies in its first week.[18]

Track listing[edit]

1."Born Again" (featuring Bon Jovi)Big Kenny, John Rich, Richie Sambora, Jon Bon Jovi3:57
2."Party Like Cowboyz (Galactic Version)"Kenny, Rich, Rodney Clawson, Vicky McGehee3:35
3."That's Why I Pray"Danelle Leverett, Blair Daly, Sarah Buxton4:12
4."Lay It All On Me"Kenny, Adam Shoenfeld, Judson Spence4:22
5."Last Words"Rich, Sharon Vaughn2:59
6."Rock the Boat" (featuring Cowboy Troy)Rich, Cowboy Troy, Craig Wiseman4:04
7."Can't Be Satisfied"Rich, Kenny, Bon Jovi, Sambora4:07
8."Get Your Game On (Unleash The Beast Version)" (featuring Cowboy Troy)Kenny, Eric Paslay, Coleman3:32
9."'Cause I Play Guitar"Rich, Kenny, Garrett Miller3:33
10."Cheat On You"Rich, Amanda Watkins, Kasey Buckley3:15
11."Never Far Away"Rich, Kenny4:24
12."M-E-D-L-E-Y Of The Hillbilly Jedi"Rich, Kenny, Shoenfeld, John Phillips, Freddy Powers, Bill McDavid5:48
Total length:45:48


Big and Rich
Additional Musicians

Chart performance[edit]


Chart (2012) Peak
US Billboard 200[19] 25
US Billboard Top Country Albums[19] 4


Year Single Peak chart positions
US Country US Country Airplay US CAN
2012 "That's Why I Pray" 16 82
"Party Like Cowboyz" 57 87
2013 "Cheat On You" 59
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Hillbilly Jedi review". Allmusic. Retrieved September 18, 2012.
  2. ^ a b countrymusicrocks. "Big & Rich 'Hillbilly Jedi' Album Review - Country Music Rocks". Country Music Rocks.
  3. ^ "Big & Rich".
  4. ^ a b "Hillbilly Jedi by Big & Rich". Nash Country Weekly. 10 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Country Décor, American Travel, Southern Food Recipes, Rustic Weddings". GAC.
  6. ^ a b "Big & Rich "Hillbilly Jedi": Album Review". 18 September 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2013-04-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ a b Jonathan Keefe (17 September 2012). "Big & Rich Hillbilly Jedi - Album Review - Slant Magazine". Slant Magazine.
  9. ^ "Hillbilly Jedi - Big & Rich: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards: Allmusic". Allmusic. 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Big & Rich Release 'That's Why I Pray' + New Music Video". 99.5 WYCD Detroit's Country. 22 May 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Big & Rich Are 'Swapping Ideas' For New Album, Says John Rich". Billboard.com. 8 September 2011. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
  12. ^ "Big & Rich Release 'That's Why I Pray' + New Music Video". 99.5 WYCD - Detroit's Country. May 22, 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Big & Rich working on new album, 'Hillbilly Jedi'". The Tennesean. April 6, 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Big & Rich: How Bon Jovi and George Lucas Named Their New Album". Billboard. 17 September 2012.
  15. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Hillbilly Jedi". AllMusic.
  16. ^ http://www.countrystandardtime.com/d/cdreview.asp?xid=4940>
  17. ^ "Country Countdown: Big & Rich Make History With 'That's Why I Pray'". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2 June 2012.
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-04-12. Retrieved 2013-04-12.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ a b "Chart listing for Hillbilly Jedi". Billboard. Retrieved September 27, 2012.