MuzikMafiaFrom the Local Nashville Scene to the National Mainstream

MuzikMafiaFrom the Local Nashville Scene to the National Mainstream

David B. Pruett

Print publication date: 2014

ISBN: 9781604734386

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi

Abstract

In October 2001, an unlikely gathering of musicians calling itself the MuzikMafia took place at the Pub of Love in Nashville, Tennessee. “We had all been beat up pretty good by the ‘industry’ and we told ourselves, if nothing else, we might as well be playing muzik,” explains Big Kenny of Big & Rich. For the next year and a half, the MuzikMafia performed each week and garnered an ever-growing, dedicated fan base. Five years, several national tours, six Grammy nominations, and eleven million sold albums later, it now comprises a family of artists including founding members Big & Rich, Jon Nicholson, and Cory Gierman along with Gretchen Wilson, Cowboy Troy, James Otto, Shannon Lawson, Damien Horne (Mista D), Two-Foot Fred, Rachel Kice, and several more in development. This book explores how a set of shared beliefs created a bond that transformed the MuzikMafia into a popular music phenomenon. The author examines the artists’ coalition from the inside perspective he gained in five years of working with them. Looking at all aspects of the collective, the book documents the problems encountered along the ascent, including business difficulties, tensions among members, disagreements with record labels, and miscalculations artists inevitably made, before the MuzikMafia unofficially dissolved in 2008. A final section examines hope for the future: the birth of Mafia Nation in 2009.