Well, nobody ever accused Billy Ray Cyrus of being predictable. Or should we say, just “Cyrus.” That’s because the country singer, actor and famous father announced a name change.
“After August 25th, I will be the artist formerly known as Billy Ray,” he told Rolling Stone Country. “I’m just going by my last name Cyrus.”
Cyrus says he preferred the moniker even decades ago. In fact, he says he “begged” his record label at the time not to market him as Billy Ray. He says he went by Cyrus because “that’s what I was comfortable with.”
To make matters official, he’s going to Bellefonte, Ky. (his birthplace) to legally change his name. Of course, you don’t need to go to where you were born to change your name. But hey, it’s dramatic.
That’s not all for Cyrus, though. In honor of the 25th anniversary of his career-defining single “Achy Breaky Heart,” he re-recorded the tune.
As if to call a “do-over” on the song, Cyrus recorded it in a swampier, bluesier tone. If fact, he took the original writer Don Von Tress down to Muscle Shoals, Ala. to record it. He even brought in The Swampers, the legendary backing band from the area.
As you can tell, the song carries a swampy, blues rock-tinged twist. Something much closer to watch Tress likely recorded before Cyrus launched it into the hokey pop country stratosphere.
But Cyrus isn’t content with one new version. He’s actually released two other versions of the song, including a Spanglish version and an EDM version. Because changing his name and re-writing his career isn’t ridiculous enough.
But then again, Cyrus’ most recent album really is quite good. And there’s no doubt he loves the less polished, rough-around-the-edges music on that record. And yet changing your name and releasing an EDM version of “Achy Breaky Heart” sure seems out of left field.
You can also catch Cyrus as an Elvis impersonator on the run in CMT’s show Still The King, which is gearing up for its second season.