Hillbilly Heart: A Memoir

Billy Ray Cyrus. Amazon/New Harvest, $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-547-99265-5
Famous for his mullet haircut and number-one single, "Achy Breaky Heart," and daughter, Miley, hillbilly hunk Cyrus recounts a hell-raising life growing up in small-town Kentucky. Born to a steel mill worker, Cyrus was bitten by the music bug at a young age; some of his earliest memories, he writes, are of Saturday nights with his mother, grandfather, and uncle playing bluegrass and folk favorites. In this flat-as-pavement memoir, Cyrus chronicles a rollercoaster life, from his troubled adolescence and the revelation that he wanted to become a musician, to life on the road, the challenges and successes of writing music, the difficulties and joys of marriage, and his work in television. Cyrus readily acknowledges that internal voices have directed him in various ways, frequently revealing his reverence for the mystical and its place in his life. His life changes when, following a Neil Diamond concert, he hears a voice telling him to buy a guitar—even though he protests that he cannot play—and that he's "going to be a positive force in people's lives." He re-lives his early days with his first band, Sly Dog, and chronicles various relationships with country stars, including Charlie Daniels and Waylon Jennings. Through it all, Cyrus ends up with a rather self-evident lesson: "the most meaningful things in life are the ones you have to work the hardest for." (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/08/2013
Release date: 04/16/2013
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4692-1756-7
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MP3 CD - 978-1-4915-7559-8
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