Let’s get this out of the way up front – I hate Miley Cyrus and especially her 80-year-old chain smokers voice. That has nothing to do with the Brother Clyde record, but I felt the need to say this to as many people as possible and since we’re about to talk about her Dad here…
What’s that? You haven’t heard? Brother Clyde is this alternate universe rock “supergroup” consisting of Billy Ray Cyrus and four others including Jamie Miller (Snot, TheStart) and Samantha Maloney (Hole). Although this isn’t as spectacular as the originally proposed Brother Clyde lineup which included country star Phil Vassar and none other than John Waite, it is the more bizarre of the two.
I’ve really got nothing bad to say about Billy Ray Cyrus. You can make fun of him all you want, but the guy turned “Achy Breaky Heart” into an extremely successful career in country music. Now, would he have had the opportunity or the desire to make a rock record if Hannah Montana had never happened? I would doubt it. After all, Billy Ray’s certainly more in the spotlight now than he’s been since his one big hit with at least partial credit given to his daughter. But it seems like daddy is taking the same path as his little girl now. Miley’s out trying to be a bad-ass on stage and Billy Ray’s going out to rock crowds now.
I don’t know how these musicians all got together but clearly Billy Ray must have pictures of Maloney in a compromising position with Miller that’s he’s threatening to go public with because on paper it’s a really weird orgy of random players. The unique lineup doesn’t translate into anything all that special though. The vast majority of the debut could have been fresh in 1998 but in 2010 it’s pretty tired. Speaking of John Waite, most of this feels like a combo of Bad English with literally every alt-rock band that got 15-minutes of fame between 1998-2003.
There are some moments that show that Billy Ray could probably do this rock thing, like the bluesy rocker “Crawl”. This track is definitely one of the better songs I’ve heard from him over the years and what the entire album probably should have sounded like. Later in the disc he does a duet with Dolly Parton that also gets a little bluesy in places and it works as well. So why the rest of the album plods along with the most generic rock riffs you could imagine is beyond me. The lead single – “Lately” even includes a rap by King Phaze turning what would be a decent ballad into a damn Linkin Park song.
I really wanted to like this album and it’s not terrible, but it’s been done 10,000 times already. I would be able to accept this more if it were weird, different or just plain ugly but it’s already been established that there’s more talent in this band than the album shows. However, it’s still better than Garth Brooks turning into Chris Gaines. What can I say, the bar was set pretty low.
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Brother Clyde is available now at Amazon.com.