Brother Clyde is the new rock band started by country star Billy Ray Cyrus. The Los Angeles based combo also features Samantha Maloney (Mötley Crüe, Hole, Eagles of Death Metal) and guitarist Jamie Miller (theSTART, Snot), within its ranks. The band will be releasing their self-titled debut album on August 10th via Buena Vista Records/Fontana. The first single from Brother Clyde, “Lately,” is available now on iTunes.
“I always loved rock ‘n’ roll,” Cyrus says. “That was a heavy part of what I was as a young juvenile delinquent. I tried from my first album to rock like any other Southern rock band.” Fate – and country music immortality – intervened, but for Brother Clyde, he followed an oh-so-rock-and-roll dictum: No rules. No limits. No preconceptions.
Cyrus not only produced the album, he co-wrote most of the songs, several with Morris Joseph Tancredi, a musician he met under unlikely of circumstances. Tancredi was his driver in Vancouver, B.C., during production of the 2009 film, “Christmas in Canaan.” Recalls Cyrus, “This kid asks me what I’m doing now musically. I played him the first song I had written for Brother Clyde, “Crawl”, and he says, ‘I didn’t know you did that. That’s straight up alternative rock.’ Then he said, ‘I have some stuff of my own you gotta hear.”
The first single from Brother Clyde, “Lately,” was written by Tancredi, and is available now on iTunes. After a few acoustic grace notes, the song comes down hard with a broadsword of power chords and a lamentation about a faithless world. With its throaty harmonies, “Lie to Me” picks up on the theme, only writ small, tracing the lines of a ruined relationship. There’s no let-up with “Waiting,” a punishing rocker drawing from an emotional pool of deep sadness yet a will to survive. Cyrus digs even deeper on “Slip Away,” “How Long” and “Crawl,” the latter a rocker with echoes of Jane’s Addiction at its most furious.
Brother Clyde also features the irresistible track, “The Right Time,” an upbeat duet between Cyrus and a shockingly hard-rocking Dolly Parton. “Dolly she said she wanted to rock,” remembers Cyrus, who had been working with Dolly on a film. “She came to my studio, brought homemade corn, mashed potatoes and a spread of country cooking. We ate, played guitar for an hour then she just kicked ass. She became like Tina Turner. You could tell she really wanted this.”
The album ends with Johnny Cash’s “Walk the Line,” recorded in 1998 with Cyrus and a line-up of all stars. “I was at a place in my life where I didn’t fit in with all the hat acts Nashville had at the time,” he says. “I just wanted to rock.” So he assembled drummer Owen Hale, keyboardist Johnny Neil, bassist Allen Woody, guitarists Mike Estes and Ed King, and harmonica player Michael Jo Sagraves, and the rest is basement tape history. Literally. It was recorded live in Johnny Neil’s basement.