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Billy Ray Cyrus

Wanna Be Your Joe – 2006 (New Door/Universal)

Reviewed by Jacquilynne Schlesier

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CDs by Billy Ray Cyrus

Billy Ray Cyrus wants his mullet back. He also wants Dale Earnhardt back. And Lynyrd Skynyrd. And classic country music. His latest is filled to the brim with nostalgia and longing for simpler times.

The delivery on the title track is overwrought, with far too much emotion hung on what should be a simple song. "I Want My Mullet Back" replaces some of that overwhelming sincerity with silly humor and self-deprecation, which works much better. "Country Music has the Blues" earns some points for at least including two of the classic stars it namechecks - George Jones and Loretta Lynn make an appearance - but has little else to offer beyond the overused idea that country music has forgotten its legends.

Even the tracks that aren't straight nostalgia pieces cover old themes. "I Wouldn't Be Me," "What About Us" and "Hey Daddy" are all new songs, but they sound just like ones you've heard dozens of times before.

Much better is "The Freebird Fell," an introspective reflection on the plane crash that killed members of Lynyrd Skynyrd, penned with Skynyrd members Ed King and Artemis Pyle.

There isn't a lot of new ground covered here - the album revisits old ideas, stripping them down and delivering them straight up.