Wanna Be Your Joe – Billy Ray Cyrus
You gotta love a guy that doesn’t mind poking a little fun at himself. That’s what Kentuckian Billy Ray Cyrus does on the new CD. “I Want My Mullet Back” is a reflection of his former hairstyle.
In Billy’s two decades on the charts, he’s achieved three No. 1 singles and sold millions of records. Since his “Achy Breaky Heart” debut in 1992, Cyrus has proven he’s no one-hit wonder, even though his critics love to put that label on him. In addition to music, he has segued into a successful acting career (Doc, Hannah Montana), starring with daughter Miley in Hannah Montana. On this album, Miley sings with her dad on “Stand.” Cyrus’ latest CD also features George Jones and Loretta Lynn on “Country Music Has the Blues.” B
My Life – Ronnie Milsap
Reinvention has been a hallmark in the musical odyssey of six-time Grammy winner and 40 No.1 song legend Ronnie Milsap. Returning to the label (RCA) that made him a megastar in the ’70s and ’80s, the 63-year-old sounds like pure love.
Milsap still leans more on the pop side of country than not. On this comeback, Milsap hired Alan Jackson’s man Keith Stegall to produce. “If It’s Gonna Rain” is a great heartbreaker. “Every Fire” is a romantic track, while “Why Can’t I,” “Time Keeps Slipping Away” and “Day in the Life of America” are worth a listen. Welcome back Ronnie! B+
Startin’ With Me – Jake Owen
After a waterskiing accident ended his golf career at Florida State University, Jake Owen decided music was a good green to hit. Now that he’s birdied a major label deal and eagled a debut hit single (“Yee Haw”), Owen is now aiming to ace the country music business.
As a writer on all of the album’s 11 tracks, Jake finds inspiration for his songs from his own life experiences and stories he’s heard about family members he never knew. One musical inspiration, Alabama’s lead singer Randy Owen (no relation), now joins him on the album’s final track, “You Can Thank Dixie.” The Vero Beach, Fla., native is dynamic on this debut, from “Places to Run” to “Something About a Woman.” Can I get a “Yee Haw?” A+
Honky Tonk Boots – Sammy Kershaw
“From the moment we met, we hit it off,” Kershaw says of his new Category 5 record label. “It didn’t take long to put together our deal, and I’m as excited as can be. It feels good to be back at work with a label behind me giving their full support to my music.”
Kershaw’s first single from Honky Tonk Boots, “Tennessee Girl,” is moving up the charts and reminding fans why they love the Louisiana native, whose string of hits in the ’90s included “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful,” “Cadillac Style,” and “Love of My Life.” Kershaw covers the Mel McDaniel anthem “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.” “One Step at aTime” and “Evangeline” are terrific tracks for the rig. A-