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John Rich’s new song Shut Up About Politics tops Country download chart - By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

John Rich’s new song Shut Up About Politics tops Country download chart

By Preshias Harris for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show

When does John Rich find time to sleep? He is currently running numerous parallel ventures, any one of which would be a full-time career for most people.

 A solo recording career, his association with Big Kenny as the hit-making duo Big and Rich, rolling out the Redneck Riviera brand (including his restaurant on Nashville’s Lower Broad), fundraising for the charity Folds of Honor, starting up the all-American-made Redneck Riviera Whiskey, and now a Special Reserve blend named for his dear old Granny… But wait, there’s more! As they say in the informercials. John also has the No. 1 song on the Country download charts with a quirky story behind it.

We sat down to catch up with John at his unique Nashville home, aptly named Mount Richmore, and we were joined by John’s 87-year-old grandmother who is affectionally known as Granny Rich.

Yes, the same Granny Rich who is the inspiration for Redneck Riviera Granny Rich Reserve, the new addition to John’s line of whiskey. John admitted that your grandmother wouldn’t be the first person you’d normally go to when you’re thinking about launching a new whiskey. But as he pointed out, Granny Rich isn’t your normal grandmother.

John ran the idea by Granny Rich back in 2017.  He remembers the conversation.  “I said to her, ‘Granny, I’ve been drinking this Canadian blended whiskey all these years. I think I’m going to try to make an American blended whisky. Do you think that would be a good idea?’  And she said, ‘Well, as long as it’s smooth, I’d probably drink it.’ So that’s when it started, when we started discussing this project.”

When you meet Granny Rich, you begin to see where John gets his work ethic and his determination.

“As long as I can remember, Granny Rich would put in a full day’s work, come home kick her shoes off and have a little something to drink,” he said.  “Calm down, take the edge off, watch a little TV. She goes to sleep, gets up, goes straight back to work.”

Turning to Granny, John said, “Granny, you grew up out in Texas on the panhandle, where, I grew up, and it’s just a different breed of people out there.  The work hard, play hard thing is how we go about things.” 

“Well, of course, from daylight to dark, you work out there,” she recalled.  “It’s a totally different world to me from what I had growing up out there over what it is here in Tennessee.  It was quite a change to move to Tennessee.”

John has inherited his grandmother’s resolve for taking responsibility for the success of any project he takes on.  He recalled a situation where the grocery chain Winn-Dixie had agreed to stock Redneck Riviera whiskey in their stores in Florida. He was concerned that the staff in those stores wouldn’t know exactly how to tell people what is Redneck Riviera Whiskey or about Folds of Honor and what that is. He asked his sales guys to get him a list of every single Winn-Dixie store in the state of Florida and the names of the store managers. There were more than three hundred and forty of them.

“It took me five days from about nine in the morning to four in the afternoon, non-stop calling,” he recalled.  “Finally, when it was all over, I had spoken to every single grocery store general manager, and had basically turned them into my sales force down in Florida, because they didn’t know that my glass is made in America, my corks are made in America; we’re basically creating American jobs with this.  I mean, that’s a big deal.”

He also made those store managers aware that part of the profits from the sales of Redneck Riviera whiskey goes to Folds of Honor, a charity that puts kids through college who lost a parent in combat. “We’ve now paid for forty-three college scholarships,” he said.  “This year, we’ll probably going to triple that number at the rate we’re on. So yeah, it’s serious to me.”

When we spoke, the song “Shut Up About Politics” was No. 1 on the iTunes Country download charts for the sixth day and No. 2 on the all-genre download charts.  “To give you an example, Katy Perry is No.3,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. He had absolutely no expectation that the song would be a hit.

“I wrote ‘Shut Up About Politics’ not to tell people to stop talking about politics but I’d like to be able to watch a football game or an Awards show or go to a concert or watch a movie or something, and not be bombarded with political angles coming from both sides all the time,” he said.  “It’s just exasperating and I feel most Americans feel that way, no matter how you vote or what side of the aisle you’re on. Enough is enough!  Can we please just have some fun together! If we want to talk about politics, let’s watch the news. But, past that… Shut up about politics!”

John is donating one hundred percent of the download income from “Shut Up About Politics” to Folds of Honor.  And there’s an interesting ‘story behind the song,’ too.

John said that he had been talking with Greg Gutfeld of Fox News and they agreed they were both sick of everyone talking politics all the time. Greg said, “I wish people would shut up about politics for a minute.” John thought that that sounded like a song title.

“I was in Jacksonville, Florida, and I said, I think I’ll try to write ‘Shut Up About Politics,’” John revealed. “But there was no paper on the bus and I had a sinus infection going on, which is a great thing to have when you’re a singer.  I had a Walgreen’s bag that had my antibiotics in it.  I flipped the bag over and I wrote ‘Shut Up About Politics’ on the back of a Walgreen’s bag, which I guess is just about the most rock n’ roll thing you could do! 

“We did this little recording on it and I said, well if we’re going to do that, we might as well make it so people can get it if they want it.  I thought, maybe it’ll do a couple of thousand downloads and I can send a check to Folds of Honor.  I don’t even know how many downloads it is now.  It’s tens of thousands. It might even be a hundred thousand at this point.  People continue to pass it around.  I wrote it in such a way that it’s not partisan. It’s just American; like ‘Please give us a break,’ you know?  I’m pretty proud of that too.  I think people can get along. When it comes to music and sports and entertainment, that’s where we should all be able to just have a good time together.”

The song became a viral success without any support or involvement from the music industry.  “I can’t even believe it, to be honest with you,” he admitted.  “Because as an artist, you put out a single and you’ll spend untold amounts of money and time trying to even get in the top ten on the downloads chart.  And this sucker is sitting at number one!  It’s just mind-blowing. And I hope it stays there for a while because the money that’s adding up for Folds of Honor, I mean, that’s real money coming in now,” he added with a smile.

“It’s the power of songwriting,” he emphasizes. “I’ve always said, a blank sheet of paper is the most boundless thing you can ever look at.  The Declaration of Independence started out as a blank sheet of paper.  The Bible started out as blank sheets of paper.  Songs are blank sheets of paper before you turn them into something. Something like ‘Shut Up About Politics,’ I tell writers and artists all the time, ‘You’re never out of the game. Keep writing.  Keep doing what you’re doing.’  You just never know when something’s going to connect.”

John had some more news to share, too. “We just bought the last two buildings on Broadway that did not have entertainment in them,” he revealed.  “The FedEx building there at Third Avenue and Broad, and the old Cotton Eyed Joe building at the corner of Second Avenue and Broad. It’s pretty exciting because both those buildings flank Redneck Riviera. So we now have all the buildings on that side of the street on that block.”

Who or what can we expect to see in those newly-acquired buildings?  John isn’t saying just yet.   “We’re bringing in some pretty cool tenants,” he hinted.  “I’m right in the middle of it and I said, you know, we should bring in things that are complementary to Broadway, not redundant with Broadway. We’ll be telling you who those businesses are pretty soon.  One of them I’m really excited about… Let’s just say some major store ‘horsepower’ that’s not a country singer.”

Meanwhile Granny Rich is having the time of her life. Earlier in the day, she got to talk to WSM-AM radio, and she’s been listening to the Grand Ole Opry on that station all her life.  “This Saturday, I’m going to do a whiskey signing where I’m going to sign all those whiskey bottles,” she said.

“I want to offer America premium products at a moderate price point,” said John.  “I grew up in a double wide [trailer] in Texas; nothing fancy.  Granny grew up in Pampa, Texas, on a farm.  People don’t have fifty or sixty dollars sitting around to buy a bottle of anything.  So Redneck Riviera Whiskey is, like, $24.99 and Granny Rich Reserve is, I think, $39.99 because … it is more aged, stronger and smoother – just like Granny!”

Turning to his grandmother, he added, “At eighty-seven, Granny, you are an iconic figure. There’s a lot of people my age and younger that would look up at an eighty-seven-year-old person and say, ‘I would like to be like that, still running my own [business], still calling the shots, drinking a little whiskey every evening, doing the things I like to do and just loving America.’ You’re quite an inspiration!”

But this is one tough lady. As John Rich put it: “If a rattlesnake had blue eyes, that’s Granny Rich.”

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1 comment:

  1. You both are an inspiration to the world.keep up the great work and be strong. Wish people were more like you both.working hard and then play in agreement.