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Album Review: Billy Ray Cyrus – Home At Last



That Billy Ray Cyrus will forever be defined by “Achy Breaky Heart” is one of music’s small but enduring injustices. That infamous novelty hit—an absolute monstrosity of a song by any measure—is an anomaly in an otherwise relatively interesting repertoire. The cut comes from Cyrus’ surprisingly good debut album Some Gave All, a roots-forward collection that borrows more from southern rock and blues than the pop-country revolution of the late 80s and early 90s. Subsequent records find the grit-voiced singer occupying similar space on the fringes of country music’s mainstream.

As such, the fact that Cyrus’ latest effort forgoes flashy production in favor of a stripped aesthetic is less of a deviation than some might expect. His rustic voice helps him tap into a simmering sense of blue-collar frustration on songs like “The Buffalo” and “Don’t Give Up On Me,” while his performance alongside daughter Miley, on the record’s lead single “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” is an earnest and bittersweet reflection on the constantly evolving father-daughter dynamic.

Home at Last is a steady and satisfying effort from a thoughtful artist who deserves more respect than he gets.

Jim Malec is a journalist whose work has appeared in American Songwriter, Country Weekly, Denver Westword, Slant and others. He is the founder of American Noise and former Managing Editor of The 9513.

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