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Billy Ray Cyrus
"Shot Full of Love"
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Click on Image for Bigger ViewInsert from CD cover that Billy Ray asked that I include for his fans on the Internet - It's a side of Billy Ray we rarely see . . .

On October 23rd, 1997, we began recording this album. We started with ‘How’s My World Treatin’ You’ then recorded ‘Under The Hood’. That evening we started with a wonderful Bob DiPiero and Walt Aldridge song entitled ‘I Give My Heart To You’. Little did I know that by the end of the session my heart would be stolen by a very unlikely source.

The day before, I was reading mail at the Fan Club when I chanced upon a letter from the Ronald McDonald house in Nashville, Tennessee. The letter told of a little girl named Jennie who was stricken with cancer and her last wish was to meet me. I was touched and very flattered. I made a number of calls and arranged for Jennie to come to The Castle Studio the next evening.

A unique feeling was in the atmosphere - my spirit believed or felt that something very special was happening. After we cut the track ‘Give My Heart…’ the musicians & I went into the mix room to hear what we had done. I concluded the players had nailed it… heart & soul. After hearing the song, I exited the room and walked into the kitchen. My eyes saw a very beautiful young girl in a wheelchair. My ears heard the voice of a desperate shy angel. I felt her soft cheek and fragile arms as we hugged and she squeezed me with all her might.

My intuition told me I would never see her again. I gave my all to her and her granny, mom and dad. This picture is a shot of that moment. The entire band, including Keith and John, came out to say ‘Hi’ and chat with her and her folks. It seemed to last a while, but I’m really not sure because time, once again, stood still.

In the spring of ’98 I received a letter from her granny. She informed me that Jennie had passed away. She wanted me to know what that moment had meant to all of them, especially Jennie, and wanted me to keep this picture. As I held the picture, stunned though not surprised, I began to get a little misty. Her granny described her funeral. It was just like Jennie had wanted. All of school friends prayed and then danced to ‘Achy Breaky’. Then they released beautiful butterflies, which spread their wings and flew away into the heavens. During the same time period Tish and I had begun to suspect she was pregnant. The same day that I got that letter from Jennies’ granny, she had gone to get an ultrasound. She came home with a picture of a little boy in the womb and I was so excited. I put his picture in my pocket and asked if I could take him for his first motorcycle ride. I then carried his picture to my gym and placed it on the wall, beside me, my dad, and Bill Clinton.

Each day, I would talk to the baby’s picture, as if it could hear me. These were confusing and difficult times for me. As you know, I am very passionate about the music and the fans, and I felt my career was passing me by … the music left behind. I felt like a ball player ready to play but yet, I was still on the bench. It was killing me.

This unborn boy brought me great joy. One day at the gym the idea came to me I should name him after me, my good friend Don Von Tress, and one of my heroes, Stevie Ray Vaughn. I proclaimed him Jesse Ray Von Cyrus. I was so excited and couldn’t wait ‘til Tish got home from the doctor so I could ask her what she thought. (I just knew she would love it ‘cause Jesse was her favorite name.) I couldn’t stand it any longer so I called her on the phone. I instantly vibed something was wrong. She tried not to tell me but she began crying and I knew … we had lost the baby. I was devastated. It was ‘Time For Letting Go.’ Once again my music paralleled my life - and it was all too real.

This album is dedicated to Jennie, Jesse, and all the many children who leave this world way too soon.

. . . Now for my interview with Billy Ray:

Click on Image for Bigger ViewBilly Ray’s first ‘day job’ was cutting grass. ‘I was about 8 years old, and I wanted a new bicycle. The only way I was going to get it, was to go out and work for it. I’m glad that my parents instilled that in me as a little boy. If you want something in life, you’ve got to be willing to work for it. That still carries on to this day.’

The bigger the boys, the bigger the toys! Billy Ray’s still cutting the grass on his 500 acre farm called ‘Singing Hills’. ‘I’m pretty much a bush hog specialist, ‘cause the tractors bigger and it goes in more places. You know, like trails for my 4 wheelers and my horses. I spent one day out mowing miles and miles of path. I came in and was complaining to Tish about how hungry and tired I was from working all day. She said, ‘You ain’t been working all day, you’ve been out playing on that bush hog!’ She didn’t qualify that for work! Do you believe it?! I grew up working on a farm, so I have to side with Billy Ray on this one Tish. It’s work.

In Flatwoods, Ky., when your parents hollered using your first & middle names, you knew you were in trouble. Billy Ray was like most middle kids when it came to getting into mischief. ‘I managed to do that quite well. I was very diverse at that stage of my life, like my music is these days. As a kid, one of my favorite things to do, was to go out with my backpack and find a wild and desolate area.’

brcy2.jpg (5913 bytes)I suggested to Billy Ray, that with all his experience in trail blazing, and being from Kentucky, they should make a new movie about Daniel Boone, and cast him in the lead. ‘What a great idea! Fess Parker played Daniel Boone on TV. So as a kid, the image of Daniel Boone was this big, tall, handsome man. But the Indian word for Daniel Boone was ‘yellow teeth’. The Indians didn’t even want to get around him ‘cause he was so stinking! They say he didn’t even get in the river too much!’ Maybe Daniel Boone couldn’t swim! Better to be dirty than drown! Would Billy Ray ‘dirty up’ his act to do a movie like this?

Billy Ray has some Indian blood in him. ‘ I do, but it’s a very small portion, but I believe you also measure a man by his heart.’ To quote Dolly Parton , ‘Sometimes you have to toot your own horn!’ Which Billy Ray doesn’t do. Few people will ever know the real extent of money and grants. But even more important to the ill and dying children, are the hours & days that he has given his undivided time and attention, to their needs. Any of those kids, will tell you that his heart must weigh a ton! As I was told by the one of the director’s at a Children’s Hospital, ‘You know it’s easy to misjudge a person by their appearance. Most stars come in, get their ‘photo opportunity’ with the kids, and leave as soon as the camera shuts off. This young man let the camera men get their shots, then told them to leave. Then he stayed the rest of the day and played with the kids. The kids liked his music, so I went back and listened to his CD again. For a guy with long hair, Billy Ray Cyrus ain’t too bad!’ To better understand Billy Ray’s love for these special kids, please read the insert inside his new ‘Shot Full of Love’ CD.

Billy Ray considers himself a spiritual man, as well as a religious man. ‘My favorite subject in school was Native American History’. At Singing Hills, there is a very special place where he spends a lot of his time. ‘It’s an Indian mound that’s one of the most tranquil, spiritual places that I’ve ever been in my life. I cherish every day I get to go there, and night. When I go to that Indian mound and pray, it’s as close to God as you can be. I do love to go to the house of the Lord, but I have more time to go on top of the hill in my front yard.’ When he does get a break from the road, he likes to spend his time at Singing Hills riding horses, and 4 wheeling with Tish, the kids, and his 5 dogs; Sheba, Pawnee, Spirit, Thor, and Fluke.

This love of nature has once again cast him into blazing trails through wild and desolate areas, during the filming of a new TBS special, ‘Return of the Eagles’. This one hour documentary follows Billy Ray through Alaska to witness the Bald Eagles return from near extinction. ‘It’s a magnificent piece. A combination story, about the American Bald Eagle and the human spirit.’ The ‘Return of Eagles’ will air for the first time on TBS, April 7th, at 9PM.

For his new TV debut on ‘Love Boat:The Next Wave’, George Jones was his acting coach. Billy Ray’s character is a down in the mouth singer, who smokes. Billy Ray doesn’t smoke. So George had to teach him how to hold a cigarette and make it look natural. Better watch out Billy, George will soon have you smoking cigars! Billy Ray was also on the Donny & Marie Show, where he got to rub elbows with the famous Duchess Sarah Ferguson.

While on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, it wasn’t his elbows that had fans looking. It was the new black tribal armband that Billy Ray had tattooed on his left bicep!

Billy Ray has won 6 TNN Music City News Awards. His fans gave him new meaning to ‘Keep your shirt on.’ He told me that if they win another award for him this year, he may go up and accept it with no shirt on! He also added, ‘That’s a scary thought, isn’t it?’ Fans, if you want to see that new tattoo, better get your vote in!

You may see it in his next video, ‘I Give My Heart To You’. Billy Ray told me, ‘When I was in high school, I would’ve been voted ‘most likely to be’ the next Johnny Bench. You’ll be seeing my Letterman’s jacket in this video.’ Okay, I couldn’t resist asking. ‘Does it still fit?’ ‘Yeah, it’s just a little tight.’ We’ll see….

Billy Ray also continues to blaze new trails in the music industry, leaving behind a string of awards. To name a few; 6 TNN Music City News Awards, CMA single of the year, NSAI song of the year, 2 American Music Awards, 2 Billboard Awards, 5 Grammy nominations, a BMI award, and his album ‘Some Gave All’ still holds the 17 week record for a debut album in the number one spot on the Billboard Pop & Country Album charts. ‘It was almost beat by the Titantic, but the Titantic sunk one week early! ‘Some Gave All’ lived!’

Billy Ray is ‘Shot Full Love’ for his family, friends, kids, and is a true humanitarian. ‘Busy Man’ hit the top 10, and I predict there will a lot more awards coming in the future for Billy Ray Cyrus.


Trail of Tears -->>

<<-- Some Gave All
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Karen Staley
Her music has been on the charts many times. Writing hits like 'Keeper of the Stars' for Tracy Byrd, and 'Let's Go toVegas' for Faith Hill. She' finally got the recognition she deserves as a singer and an entertainer while touring with Faith Hill. Warner Brothers has just released Karen's first album 'Fearless'. Karen wrote 5 of the songs of this album, so you can bet it's going to be a hit!
Sign of the Times . . .

Energizer Bunny arrested . . .
. . . Charged with "Battery"

Billy Ray Cyrus’s
‘Chicken Bogg’
  • 1 dressed hen (4-5 lbs)
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups rice
  • 2 lbs. Pork sausage

Cut up chicken, cook in boiling water until tender Add sausage about 40 minutes before chicken is done Remove chicken & sausage from stock Measure 4 cups of stock and 4 cups of water and let boil Add 4 cups of rice with chicken and sausage Salt & pepper to taste, bring to boil and stir well. Cook on low another 30 minutes. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serves 12-15

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