Billy Ray Cyrus is a Country music superstar and a successful actor, who now understands what's most important to him in life - his home and family. As VOA's Mary Morningstar tells us, family values are the common thread throughout Billy Ray's new album, "Home At Last."
A conversation between Billy Ray Cyrus and his father, who died of cancer last year, was the inspiration for his new album, Home At Last. His father told him, "Son, enjoy life. Appreciate every second you have with your family. Live, love and laugh often and don't ever take it for granted. Be thankful and just remember home is where your heart is, a place inside you never really leave."
Billy Ray grew up singing in his father's gospel quartet. He began performing professionally at the age of 20. In 1992, Billy Ray's debut single, "Achy Breaky Heart," climbed to the top of the Country chart and also reached the Top 5 on the pop chart. Success on Country radio continued throughout the 1990s with such hits as "Could've Been Me," "Heart Of A Woman" and "Busy Man."
Then, in 2001, Billy Ray was cast to star in the cable television series Doc. The career change turned out to be a mixed blessing. He says he was thankful for the experience, but filming in Toronto kept him separated from his wife and five children for long periods of time. Billy Ray left Doc after four seasons, returning to his home in Tennessee and his career in music.
For the release of his latest album Home At Last, Billy Ray signed with Walt Disney Records. The album features some original songs, as well as several cover tunes. The classics include "You've Got A Friend," "Put A Little Love in Your Heart," a unique version of "Over the Rainbow" and Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl."
Critics and Country music fans are giving high marks to Billy Ray's new album. The collection sold enough copies to enter the Country Albums chart at Number 3 and the Billboard 200 at Number 20.
Billy Ray wrote the first single from Home At Last for his daughter Miley, who stars in the popular series Hannah Montana. His wife and children left for Los Angeles while he stayed behind in Tennessee to finalize the move.
"As I watched my family drive off, my heart was breaking," he said. "My daughter's life was about to change and it was time for daddy to let her go."
Once Billy Ray got to California, Disney also offered him a role in Hannah Montana. He plays the father of his daughter's character.