Tom T. Hall.
If you are trying to break into country music, and your last name is Cyrus, you have some very big footsteps to follow. Bobby Cyrus, cousin to Billy Ray Cyrus, will be releasing his debut country album on May 21. Now that all know who his cousin is, I have this to say… Billy Ray and his Achy Breaky Heart may be the better known Cyrus, but Bobby is definitely the more ‘country’ of the two!
The album, titled Homeplace, features 13 tracks, nine of which were written or co-written by Bobby. Produced by renowned vocalist and Bluegrass musician, Don Rigsby, the album features special guest appearances by Billy Ray Cyrus, and Country legend, Tom T. Hall.
The first one, ‘Cut My Teeth On (Waylon and Willie)’ sounds like he did! With a melody that reminds you of the music of Waylon and Merle, and lyrics that tell a story, this song has everything that makes country music ‘country’. It has a very traditional sound, and anyone who grew up listening to the best country music had to offer is going to like this song.
That one is followed by ‘Homeplace’. It’s a great song, but I wasn’t happy with the dialogue at the beginning. I understand it is a spoken word stanza from Bobby’s father. And, I’m sure it is an important element in this song that is painting a picture of the Cyrus family home in Louisa, Ky. But, I just don’t really like talking in my music. However, when that short ‘spoken word stanza’ ends, we get to hear an awesome song, with a great melody – and a story that could possibly be told by just about everyone who grew up in that part of the country.
The next one is “’Milkman’s Eyes’. I got to hear this one several months ago, and I didn’t like it. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was the message it was sending. I mean, I’m old – I grew up with a milkman who arrived at our house a few times a week before 7 a.m., and put the glass, quart-size bottles of milk, in a little insulated box on our front porch. Most people listening to country music these days don’t have a memory like that…because many were born years after the milkman ceased to exist. Looking at someone’s child, and suggesting to them that the kid ‘has the milkman’s eyes’ probably wouldn’t even strike them as amusing. This song is an obvious attempt at humor from Bobby and his cousin, Billy Ray in this duet.
Beautiful is the only word needed to describe “Send Me Wings,” the fourth song on this CD. It’s Bobby and a piano, and an emotional story. I don’t even want to tell you about it – it’s a song you have to listen to… and you might cry just a little bit. “If little boys can be angels, send me wings so I can fly.” It’s a great song. I want to hear this one on the radio!
Bobby shows us he can rock a bit with “Hillbilly Man” – It’s a fast song, about moonshiners. It has a beat that might push it into the country/rock category – but it’s still country enough for me.
Tom T. Hall is featured in “A Rose For Marie.” It’s another slow one. I love this ballad side of Bobby Cyrus. And I really loved a little Tom T. on this album. Tom had a hand in writing this one, and bobby said the song was inspired by the death of John Hartford’s wife, Marie, after Tom T. had visited her gravesite.”
Bobby wrote “Daddy’s Home,” and calls it an autobiographical acoustic track. It’s about the memories he had of his father. It brought back memories I have of my father, too. I think it is going to do that for a lot of people who hear it. ‘Broke Down In Georgia” had a familiar melody, I thought – but I can’t put it with any other song, really. It’s slow, it’s good, it tells a story. And Bobby has a great way of telling stories.
Picking up speed again with “If I’da Wrote That Song,” How many times have we all thought – ‘wish I had written that one.’ It just tells us where he might be and what he might be doing if he had written ‘that song.’ He slows us back down with “Carved Our Names In Stone”. This one is a story of young love – and what happens when that young love ends.
When I listened to “Bodan’s Home” I was thinking LINE DANCE! It had the perfect beat – and I was more interested in the music than I was the lyric. All I know is that there are some references to Jekyll and Hyde and the Boogie Man, and apparently there’s an urban legend somewhere in there. But, I’m still thinking line dance!
Next we have “Lucky Guy” – Bobby wrote this one, too. It is described in the ‘cut by cut’ as “an inspirational track that starts as a daydream before moving into the reality of Cyrus’ pursuit of a career in music.’ It’s a song you would have had to live, to write. And he’s obviously lived it.
“Lucky Man” is the last song on the album, but then – we get Homeplace (The Poem). It was written by Bobby’s dad. It’s great. But, again, I’m not much into ‘readings’. And, as good as this poem is, I think I would have rather had it printed in the album jacket, and read it for myself. But I probably wouldn’t have read it as well as Bobby did. While this one track isn’t something I’ll listen to often, I’m glad I got to hear it at least once.