If someone told you that “Achy Breaky Heart” hitmaker, Billy Ray Cyrus would one day release an album that is in part, a tribute to the likes of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Kristofferson and other country legends, would you believe it? Well, the time is now and you better believe, because it’s here and it’s GOOD.
While Billy Ray Cyrus has had his hand in some questionable projects over the years (That “Achy Breaky 2” spaceship music video, anyone?), there is no doubt that the man knows how to keep himself in the spotlight. Most recently, the first season of his successful CMT comedy, Still The King, just wrapped up and is set to return for a second run in 2017. What better way to keep the momentum going than to release an album of new music?
Thin Line, the 14th studio album from Cyrus features six songs penned by Billy Ray himself, including the title track. Of “Thin Line,” Billy Ray says that “This song describes how I live my life; it’s a balance between art and reality.”
What makes this album special, is that not all of these songs were written directly for this album. For example, “Stop Picking On Willie” was written by Cyrus back in 1989 while he was playing bars in West Virginia and Ohio.
Along with the original songs on Thin Line, Cyrus lends his voice in tribute to artists that he has looked up to throughout his career. Three classics written by Kris Kristofferson are included as are Waylon’s “I’ve Always Been Crazy” (recorded with Jennings’ son Shooter and Lee Roy Parnell) and Merle Haggard’s “Going Where The Lonely Go” in a duet with his own son, Braison Cyrus.
My personal favorite track on the album is a very uptempo cover of the Don Williams hit, “Tulsa Time,” featuring Aerosmith’s Joe Perry. Without bashing today’s radio product, if we were any other time, this could easily be a smash single.
While I do think that the songs could have maybe been arranged a bit differently as it starts out quite slow for a few tracks, overall, Thin Line is a success in my books. Billy Ray Cyrus never truly followed the “rules” of country music, so it’s only fitting that he pay tribute to those outlaws who nixed the standards before his own time.
Thin Line is available for pre-order NOW through our links below and in stores Friday, September 9th. Still The King returns to CMT for its second season in 2017.