It Won’t Be The Last (Billy Ray Cyrus) – Album Review

Billy Ray Cyrus' Second Disc Was Quite Successful But It Couldn't Match The Sales Of The Debut

Billy Ray Cyrus' Second Disc Was Quite Successful, Yet It Could not Match The Sideral Sales Of The Debut

“It Won’t Be The Last” was Billy Ray Cyrus’s second full-length album. It was released in the summer of 1993, shortly after his mega-successful debut had hit the shelves. I regard it as a major step forward. But it is not that the album is miles away from the previous one, it is just that it has gone the (relatively short) distance that would lead to a more balanced listen. The first time around it felt like the ballads and the rockers did not mesh. That problem was to be resolved by “It Won’t Be The Last”. The key word here is “focused”. There is a clear middle ground between ballads and rock numbers (such as the successful single “Words By Heart”), and the flow of the album feels more natural this time around.

The record has 11 tracks, and the first six are a true pleasure. The single “In The Heart Of Woman” was a foolproof way to set the disc in motion, and having it followed by one of the many Don Von Tress songs on offer (“Talk Some”) was the best way to keep the momentum going. Von Tress was to be the primary tunesmith for the album. That was only to be expected – he had penned “Achy Breaky Heart” and “Talk Some” is the best rocker he contributes to this record, in my opinion. The other rock number (“Ain’t Your Dog No More”) feels too overtly like an Achy Break Heart surrogate, and a forced one at that. Continue reading

Some Gave All (Billy Ray Cyrus) – Album Review

Billy Ray Cyrus' Debut Is Titled After The Words Of A Vietnam Veteran Named Randy Kane

Billy Ray Cyrus' Debut Is Titled After The Words Of A Vietnam Veteran Named Sandy Kane

Billy Ray Cyrus’s debut was first issued in 1992, and more than 15 years later it still retains a couple of significant records such as being the top-ranking album by a country male performer, and (most notably) the best selling debut album from a male artist – more than 20,000,000 copies have been sold worldwide. Of course, it is the album that has “Achy Breaky Heart” – for my take on the song and the impact it had on Billy’s career I direct you to the general introduction I posted yesterday. Three more singles were drawn from “Some Gave All”, and they all did pretty well on the charts – “Could’ve Been Me” hit number 2, actually. The other two singles were “She’s Not Cryin’ Anymore” and “Wher’m I Gonna Live” (they charted at #6 and #23 respectively).

Before being signed up, the consensus was that Billy was too much of a rocker for Nashville and too much of a country performer for LA. Leaving aside the monster hit of the record, that is something which comes across when you listen to the album. The songs are either full-on country (the vast majority of compositions) or unbridled rock numbers. Personally, I feel these rock cuts are fantastic, and they are the ones that stick in my mind after listening to the CD. I am surprised that “Never Thought That I’d Fall In Love With You” was not issued as a single – Mercury probably though that issuing three harder-rocking compositions could be counterproductive. The fact is that the song has a great guitar part throughout, and a drum track that shifts from accompanying to leading in a snap, then reverts itself again. I like the song as much as the achy breaky one, and the fact it was never overplayed is just a big plus. Continue reading

Billy Ray Cyrus – General Introduction

Billy Ray Cyrus Performing During The "Achy Breaky Heart" Days

Billy Ray Cyrus Performing During The "Achy Breaky Heart" Days

Success is not as simple or charming as it seems. Not necessarily a phenomenal bout of early success will mean that it is going to be a smooth ride from that point onwards. And I am sure few know that as well as Billy Ray Cyrus.

To the general public, he is always going to be associated with his monster hit from 1992, “Achy Breaky Heart”. As it is (very accurately) said elsewhere, it was to be the song that would make him and break him. The song must have been one of the most played tunes of the 90s. In South America, it was still being played like the first day well into 1995. And in the States, it caused a true mania that included an “Achy Breaky Dance” – the first time such a thing had happened with a country song. Continue reading