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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Billy Ray may have given all, but it wasn't enough

The Crazy Horse, Irvine, Cal., April 2, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

IRVINE, CA - Billy Ray Cyrus has been saddled by his smash success "Achy, Breaky Heart" since 1992. And he left this concert with a critic's achy breaky heart broken.

Waiting in line to get in, one woman complained that when she met Cyrus backstage, he refused to sign her breast. Of all the gall! Especially when he had previously supposedly provided this same service for her sister, who was even better endowed. Or so she claimed.

Cyrus' lack of musical growth can be documented by his set selection. Of the 16 or so songs he performed, a full third of these were from his breakthrough "Some Gave All" album, which also featured "Achy."

"Achy Breaky Heart" was not this evening's musical low point. That embarrassing moment came when Cyrus foolishly decided to include the wonderfully detailed character study "Harper Valley PTA" as a part of a medley including the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Woman." By doing so, Cyrus showed no respect at all for this song's lyrical nuance, and put it with the Stones' oldie simply because it had a similar chord pattern and rhythm.

By trashing all his musical credibility to hell, Cyrus had only his famed sex appeal to rely upon. Surprisingly, for somebody with such a hunky reputation, Cyrus didn't display the kind of charisma you might expect. He rarely danced well, if at all, and usually only played air guitar on instrumental breaks. Nope, he's no showman.

Much of his repertoire runs indistinctively together, sounding like bad Springsteen, bad Journey or bad Southern rock most of the time. Only on his occasional ballads - such as "Could Have Been Me" - does Cyrus even come close to sounding country, but it's not nearly close enough.

At this point in his career, poor Cyrus ain't even worth the cleavage he signs his name on.