In 1993, Billy Ray Cyrus stormed the country music scene with his version of rockin’ country, and now the singer plans to return to his Southern rock roots with the release of ‘Wanna Be Your Joe’ (New Door/UMe). The album is available now, and is the singer’s celebration of the joys, heroes and music of a generation that brought together rock and country.
From “Country Music Has The Blues” featuring greats George Jones and Loretta Lynn, “The Freebird Fell” penned with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Artemis Pyle and Ed King, and “The Man,” a tribute to NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, to the tongue-in-cheek “I Want My Mullet Back,” ‘Wanna Be Your Joe’ is about the life and loves of the average Joe.
In fact, one love affair’s life cycle is heard in a string of song titles: “Wanna Be Your Joe,” “I Wouldn’t Be Me,” “What About Us,” “Lonely Wins,” “I Wonder,” “How’ve You Been” and “Ole What’s Her Name.” “Hey Daddy,” a personal song about being a father, finishes out the CD.
The album, for which he wrote or co-wrote all 12 tracks, is the first non-gospel outing for Cyrus in four years. During that time, the music star became a television star–first with four seasons of “Doc,” the #1-rated series on PAX, and now with the Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana.”
Premiering this spring, “Hannah Montana,” which also stars his daughter Miley, scored the highest ratings of any show to debut on that network. Miley also contributes both lead and harmony vocals to Cyrus’ song “Stand,” marking the first time father and daughter have recorded together.
Cyrus burst onto the country music scene with the release of ‘Some Gave All’ which broke the record for weeks at #1 pop by a debut artist (17). It was sparked by “Achy Breaky Heart” the #1 country for five weeks, Top 5 pop, platinum, and the Country Music Association’s Single of the Year. The seven and a half times platinum disc was the fourth biggest-selling album of the ’90s. Its “Could’ve Been Me” hit #2 country, “She’s Not Cryin’ Anymore” #6, “Wher’m I Gonna Live” #23 and the title track became an anthem for military veterans.
1993’s ‘It Won’t Be the Last’ entered the pop chart at #3, country chart at #1 and reached platinum thanks to “In the Heart of a Woman” (#3), “Somebody New” (#9) and “Words By Heart” (#12). The next year’s ‘Storm in the Heartland,’ with its Top 40 country title track, earned gold. 1996’s ‘Trail Of Tears’ prompted some of the best critical notices of his career as the Cyrus-penned title song depicted the plight of the Native American.