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Billy Ray Cyrus

Shot Full of Love – 1998 (Mercury)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus thinks he made a career album, and he may be right. He strays further and further from what not only made him ultra-popular (Hot New Country sounds), but also was the bane of his career.

Cyrus helps by keeping his voice in check - singing within himself instead of pushing it and falling flat. There is enough vocal grit (the bouncy, rootsy sounding "Under the Hood" and the catchy "Rock This Planet") and sincerity (the ballad "I Give My Heart to You") without oversinging.

And he has a slew of well chosen songs that, while not exactly hard core, are country. The material stacks up far better than previous efforts. "Busy Man" focuses on the family vs. work dilemma.

Producers Keith Stegall and John Kelton probably should receive a ton of credit for helping Cyrus turn in this effort. He used studio musicians instead of his regular band, usually not a plus, but they acquit the material quite well.

The "Achy Breaky" man just may have overcome the song that made him famous.