Country music’s hottest new duo, Lucky Ned Pepper may be new to the music scene, but their roots in country music stem as far back as 1992 when the duo’s Rick Russell and Josh Graham led the way for the country band Smokin’ Armadillos. Now, Russell and Graham are back in the spotlight with the same infectious sounding music they built their following with, only this time as Lucky Ned Pepper.
Lucky Ned Pepper’s debut single with Nine North Records, “I Remember the Music” (penned by Ashley Gorley and Wade Kirby), has shipped to country radio and already has the industry buzzing about what’s to come from the loved voices and entertainers who have quietly been working on new tunes since the Smokin’ Armadillos put an end to their 13 year long career in 2005.
“Deep down I always knew that I would record a solo album just to see what it sounded like, but at that point when the farewell show ended, I just really started focusing on my kids,” Russell says. “Then I just kept getting the itch. I really wanted to get in there and record again.”
Russell called on Graham to assist his project, knowing his musical ability to work behind the board in the recording studio. “It was nice to put my finger back in the music a little bit,” notes Graham who also engineered the Smokin’ Armadillos final independent album, Strike the Match. “I don’t think any of us were burned out on playing music because we were still having fun.”
Before too long, the two long time friends and one-time bandmates thought to give the music career another shot as a duo, and Lucky Ned Pepper was born.
“We’re not traditional country, but we’re country,” Graham says of Lucky Ned Pepper’s music. “We’re just right down the middle country. It’s something different. We do have the advantage where we get to jump into a place where we don’t have to start from scratch, but we’re still starting over in a lot of ways.”
Lucky Ned Pepper will be gearing up to hit the road on their radio tour in support of the new single from their forthcoming debut album, Get Lucky. The 10-track album is slated for release at the end of September, just in time for their headlining performance in their hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. at the Kern County Fair.