Unless you’ve been living in a cave since 1992, there’s a strong likelihood that you are familiar with country singer and TV personality Billy Ray Cyrus. Odds are you are also acquainted with his daughter, singer, actress and gal-about-town, Miley.
But did you know that Billy Ray has a cousin who is also a musician? Bobby Cyrus has a new CD, Homeplace, set for a December 1 release. It was recorded with the help of a gaggle of bluegrass artists, and produced by noted bluegrass vocalist and bandleader, Don Rigsby.
A debut single, Milkman’s Eyes, is available now, which features brother Billy Ray, along with a music video which includes Darrell Webb as well. It’s not a bluegrass song, per se, but Darrell is pictured with a banjo, mimicking the part Carl Jackson played on the record.
It’s a cute video, with Bobby’s take on a classic country theme of the iniquitous spouse.
Jason Grubb, Darrell’s manager, explained that Webb ended up with the gig through Grubb also working with Cyrus.
“Bobby called me looking for a banjo player or mandolin player to appear at the shoot in Nashville. I suggested Darrell because he can play anything with strings. Bobby had some knowledge of Darrell, and was excited he would be willing to do it.
The producer, John Lloyd Miller, as well as the rest of the crew, liked what Darrell brought to the table. He is a natural entertainer and was able to easily provide what they were looking for.
We had a great time at the shoot, and Darrell did some great networking. We love the fact he appeared so prominently in the video. He did a great and professional job!”
If you look closely, you’ll also see Jason’s wife, bluegrass singer Stacy Grubb, and their two children in the video.
Growing up in eastern Kentucky, both the Cyrus boys grew up around bluegrass, and share an appreciation for the music and the folks who play it. So it’s no great surprise that Bobby reached out to the bluegrass community when it came time to record.
When we caught up yesterday with Don Rigsby, he explained a bit about Homeplace, and how he came to be involved.
A while back, he approached me and asked me if I would consider producing a project for him. He had an investor and said that we could make the kind of project that we both wanted to do, and I was eager to flex my creative muscles a bit beyond the borders of bluegrass.
I know what is and is not bluegrass, and had no intention of making the lines blurred…and I didn’t. However, I have long held that bluegrass musicians are among the finest in any genre. I have seen it time and time again, so I tapped many prominent grassers to help record this project.
Carl Jackson played banjo, Randy Kohrs played various instruments as only he can, Jim Hurst played guitar, Aaron Till played fiddle, Kathy Chiavola, Garnet Bowman, Ronnie Bowman, Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, John Cowan and I sang harmonies, I played mandolin, and Tom T. Hall gave a stirring recitation on a number.
The rhythm section was supplied by Jim Hurst, Tim Marx and Nick Budha. In addition to these, many other great session players from country music filled out the cast.
There is no pure bluegrass music to be found here, but the songs are really great, and in anything I do, a certain bluegrass sensibility is always obvious. The aforementioned players and singers are always easy to count on for adding a grassy edge to anything they do too!
I am very proud of this project and I truly hope the people get behind it and help Bobby realize his dream of success.”