Kentucky hunk Billy Ray Cyrus, unsanctioned by Nashville or New York, has finally made the country single that pop audiences want to hear. And what a single it is: "Achy Breaky Heart" matches earnest breakup anguish with loony bemusement in a C&W tradition that's only hairs away from novelty redeemed in this case by the song's boogie-billy instrumentation.
Some Gave All finds Cyrus at home with virtually all country idioms, but bursting with a pop sensibility that gives his music freer play. A delightful cover of "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" denies the tune's country origins and punches up its hip-shaking giddiness. Cyrus can chug along like a vintage New Waver ("Never Thought I'd Fall in Love With You"), belt out sexy blues weepers ("Ain't No Good Goodbye") and pause in nearly every song for showoffy screech-and-squiggle guitar breaks. His cornball wit is evident on "Wher'm I Gonna Live?" and "I'm So Miserable." The title song, mercifully last, could have snaked the prom-ballad market from Winger if it defended a girl instead of the flag. Cyrus is a novice who's cheekily bypassing the country-crossover route; he's headed for the arena, ready to rock. (RS 636)
(Posted: Jan 29, 1997)
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