song and placed among the Top 5 on pop charts. With the help of
Cyrus' hip-shaking and rugged good looks, the single pigeon-holed the
singer rather unfairly as less country superstar and more Playgirl
pin-up novelty act. Now nearly a decade after "Achy" made
him an overnight sensation, Cyrus returns with "Southern
Rain"--a set that he hopes will finally pull him from beneath
his debut single's hefty shadow.
is a multiplatinum artist with a string of chart-toppers considered
a one-hit wonder? When does an artist that shot to No. 1 the first
time out spend the rest of his career wishing he had never recorded
the song that instantly granted him stardom? Both are easy questions
to answer if you're Billy Ray Cyrus.
Breaky Heart" became a No. 1
judged on its own merits, "Southern Rain" could be just
what Cyrus needs to achieve that. After all, he's included every
country music cliche (including requisite dedication to Elvis--this
one written by popster Bryan Adams). Don't hold it against him,
though. He's also pulled together a selection of radio-friendly tunes
that showcase his vocal and musical advancements.
the disc off with the first single, "You Won't Be Lonely
Now," Cyrus shows his trademark growl has matured . . . as has
his music. Not the strongest selection from the disc, but it's
certainly enough to return Cyrus to the listening public's
consciousness and prepare audiences for what is to come.
singer shares writing credits on the title track, the
nostalgia-filled "Southern Rain." Similarly convincing is
"Love You Back," an emotive, hook-laden track about love on
the run. At once accessible and compelling, Cyrus is ready for
immediate country airplay with either.
or an American-made products commercial. (Look for this as the next
strong-suit has always been his rock-a-billy roots--and he refuses
to disappoint here. "Crazy 'Bout You Baby," with Jerry Lee
Lewis-inspired piano work, gets the blood pumping. Requisite white
trash anthem "Burnin' Down the Trailer Park" will elicit a
get shaky when Cyrus evokes thoughts of Country's "working
man" Aaron Tippin, both in his CD cover attire (black leather
pants and black, sleeveless shirt) and the somewhat hackneyed "We
The People." The track screams to be incorporated either into a
the closing track and show-stopper "Without You," things
have smoothed out. The passionate, plaintive cut, co-penned by Cyrus
and pop one-hit wonder Jude Cole (1990's "Baby, It's
Tonight"), is everything Cyrus should hope to be remembered as.
On a track layered thick with steel guitar, Cyrus masterfully
performs an agile tight-rope act between pop and country power
balladry. As with the name of his record-setting debut CD, Billy Ray
gives all he has to show why he has, throughout all his career
pitfalls, refused to be counted out.
You" is the homerun Cyrus has been seeking for 10 years.
Open-minded radio programmers in both music formats could easily
allow this stellar single to cement Cyrus' star status and return him
to the top of Billboard's charts.
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