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Big & Rich, ‘Hillbilly Jedis’ Pairs Duo With Bon Jovi

Christopher Polk, Getty Images for CMT

It’s been more than five years since Big & Rich released a new album, and they’re coming back in a big way. The duo has partnered with two parts of legendary band Bon Jovi for collaborations on their upcoming album. Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora have been writing songs with Big Kenny and John Rich, as well as playing on the recording sessions, and even helping give the new project its title.

“It came out in a writing session we were doing with Richie Sambora and [Jon] Bon Jovi we were doing the other week,” Big Kenny told Nashville newspaper The Tennessean. “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.’”

Saturday (June 16), John tweeted this photo (above) of the Bon Jovi guitarist working on Hillbilly Jedis, with the message: “Can’t believe Richie Sambora is jammin’ on the new @bigandrich record!” John didn’t specify which tune Richie was contributing to, but last month Big & Rich posted a sneak preview of a song they’d written with the rocker and Jon Bon Jovi, entitled “Born Again.” (Watch below.)

The new Big & Rich album came to fruition after a hiatus in which the pair were “writing songs and making babies,” in John’s words. When Big Kenny and John reunited on last summer’s Xtreme Muzik tour with Gretchen Wilson, they knew a new project was destined.

“Kenny and I are swapping songs, swapping ideas, so I would say it’s inevitable, it’s coming,” John told Billboard.com of the possibilities of a new album. “And it’s not like people can pitch you songs for a Big & Rich record; our music is not like anybody else’s stuff. It really is a meeting of the minds between me and Kenny, so it’s just a process.”

Hillbilly Jedis doesn’t have a release date yet, but its first single, “That’s Why I Pray,” is currently climbing the charts.

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