Released September 2016
Price 10.99 $
Label ℗ 2016 Blue Cadillac Music, LLC
Billy Ray Cyrus settled into a bit of a leathery groove on 2012's Change My Mind, the first record he released in years where he seemed unconcerned with charts. His superstar daughter may pop up on "Angels Protect This Home," an eerie piece of formless neo-gospel the two wrote together, but 2016's Thin Line doubles down on Cyrus' old-fashioned rowdy ways, functioning as something of a tribute to outlaw country. No less than three Kris Kristofferson songs are here, and a couple that are associated with Waylon Jennings — as is Sharon Vaughn's "My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys," which also was covered by Willie Nelson, who Cyrus shouts out on "Stop Pickin' on Willie." That's not the end of it, either: Waylon's own "I've Always Been Crazy" is here, cut in a version featuring Shooter Jennings (who also pops up on "Killing the Blues"), Merle Haggard's "Going Where the Lonely Go" shows up as a duet with Billy Ray's son Braison, and Don Williams' "Tulsa Time" is revived with the assistance of Aerosmith's Joe Perry. All these oldies amount to half the album, a none too subtle way of telegraphing Cyrus' rough and ragged bona fides, but Billy Ray gives them a suitably gruff and laid-back treatment, then surrounds them with new songs that generally fit the outlaw spirit. The exception is "Hey Elvis," a boogieing tribute to Presley co-written and co-performed with Bryan Adams, which feels a shade too power pop for these proceedings (the closing vocoders help matters none), but it doesn't stand out on an album that's appealingly weathered.