Reviews for Hillbilly Heart


Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
According to him, when he has reached critical points in his life, singer-songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus hears voices. So far, parents, teachers, girlfriends, juvenile-court judges, tarot-card readers, complete strangers, and even spirits have warned him of dangers and offered directions to reform his life, but he often fends off advice as long as he can. He especially resisted the ghostly "Buy a guitar and start a band" message until he discovered that left-handed guitars exist, which he understood as a sign from God telling him to heed the inexplicable call. Although he learned to play guitar quickly and had natural singing ability, he spent many years performing in dangerous dance halls, under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and women, before he landed a recording contract in Nashville. With wit and candor reminiscent of his song lyrics, Cyrus recounts his rise to musical stardom, the start of his acting career, and his struggles to maintain a marriage and raise children. His fans and those of his daughter Miley Cyrus will enjoy this tell-everything memoir. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 April #1
A controversial country-music sensation imparts tales of struggle and success. Equally lauded and maligned for his 1992 breakthrough single, "Achy Breaky Heart," Billy Ray Cyrus had to fight for respect from Nashville's recording elite. He was uniquely poised for such a battle; far from being the Johnny-come-lately that the media portrayed, Cyrus had paid his dues performing in country-rock bar bands throughout Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia since the early 1980s. His youth in Appalachia had also given him a strong connection with nature, a sturdy Christian faith, and a devotion to family and music that sustained him through tough times. Cyrus was no choirboy, though; he admits to rabble-rousing, drinking and womanizing in the classic "outlaw country" style, and these portions of the narrative re-create that period of his life with a reckless flair. Nor has his trajectory been a straightforward ascent to fame. After the immense popularity of his debut, Cyrus failed to achieve a similar level of success with his subsequent albums, none of which have sold nearly as well. In the 2000s, he pursued roles in TV and movies and watched his daughter Miley rocket to stardom (and scandal) as Disney's "Hannah Montana." He also became an advocate for military veterans--many of whom have given him their medals as tokens of appreciation--and natural-disaster victims, raising money on their behalf via concerts and a philanthropic foundation. Told in a natural and candid tone, the book will please country-music fans and may even win over some skeptics. Although the narrative occasionally veers into aw-shucks-I'm-just-a-country-boy territory, this is a warm account of a star who has managed to remain humble. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 May #2

Here's a reminder that Miley Cyrus's dad broke out as a country singer and songwriter with "Achy Breaky Heart" and sold over 20 million copies of the album Some Gave All--the best-selling debut album to date of a solo male artist. Cyrus writes a story of music, faith, and his travails once he and his family hit Hollywood. A ten- to 15-city tour featuring a new song, "Hillbilly Heart," will help push this book; the 150,000-copy first printing suggests big-audience expectations.

[Page 60]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 November #1

Here's a reminder that Miley Cyrus's dad broke out as a country singer/songwriter with "Achy Breaky Heart" and sold over 20 million copies of the album Some Gave All, the best-selling debut album to date of a solo male artist; originally scheduled for October 2012.

[Page 55]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Reviews 2013 May #1

Entertaining and engrossing, this autobiography is a swift read built around the premise that country music star Cyrus based his entire career on the advice of a voice he heard in his head. Though it's not great literature or very deep, Cyrus's book trades on the uplifting theme of the American Dream and is an absorbing read. The story of how a juvenile delinquent from a broken Southern home develops into an unlikely pop culture icon, the book kicks into high gear when Cyrus gives up a promising baseball career to play guitar in a band--because a voice told him to. That voice becomes a character in Cyrus's story, and finding out who it is and why it speaks to him is part of the allure of turning the pages. Along the way readers are treated to anecdotes about hanging out with Kurt Cobain, Waylon Jennings being a fan of Cyrus's acting career, and Cyrus's daughter Miley's rise to fame. VERDICT It's a fun read, free of the hubris and pride many celebrities can't let go of when crafting their legacy. Cyrus has no problem exposing his warts (most of them, at least), and that's what makes this book so easy to fall into. [See the Q&A with Cyrus on the facing page.--Ed.]--Rob Morast, Norfolk, VA

[Page 80]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #2

Famous for his mullet haircut and number-one single, "Achy Breaky Heart," and daughter, Miley, hillbilly hunk Cyrus recounts a hell-raising life growing up in small-town Kentucky. Born to a steel mill worker, Cyrus was bitten by the music bug at a young age; some of his earliest memories, he writes, are of Saturday nights with his mother, grandfather, and uncle playing bluegrass and folk favorites. In this flat-as-pavement memoir, Cyrus chronicles a rollercoaster life, from his troubled adolescence and the revelation that he wanted to become a musician, to life on the road, the challenges and successes of writing music, the difficulties and joys of marriage, and his work in television. Cyrus readily acknowledges that internal voices have directed him in various ways, frequently revealing his reverence for the mystical and its place in his life. His life changes when, following a Neil Diamond concert, he hears a voice telling him to buy a guitar--even though he protests that he cannot play--and that he's "going to be a positive force in people's lives." He re-lives his early days with his first band, Sly Dog, and chronicles various relationships with country stars, including Charlie Daniels and Waylon Jennings. Through it all, Cyrus ends up with a rather self-evident lesson: "the most meaningful things in life are the ones you have to work the hardest for." (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

Famous for his mullet haircut and number-one single, "Achy Breaky Heart," and daughter, Miley, hillbilly hunk Cyrus recounts a hell-raising life growing up in small-town Kentucky. Born to a steel mill worker, Cyrus was bitten by the music bug at a young age; some of his earliest memories, he writes, are of Saturday nights with his mother, grandfather, and uncle playing bluegrass and folk favorites. In this flat-as-pavement memoir, Cyrus chronicles a rollercoaster life, from his troubled adolescence and the revelation that he wanted to become a musician, to life on the road, the challenges and successes of writing music, the difficulties and joys of marriage, and his work in television. Cyrus readily acknowledges that internal voices have directed him in various ways, frequently revealing his reverence for the mystical and its place in his life. His life changes when, following a Neil Diamond concert, he hears a voice telling him to buy a guitar--even though he protests that he cannot play--and that he's "going to be a positive force in people's lives." He re-lives his early days with his first band, Sly Dog, and chronicles various relationships with country stars, including Charlie Daniels and Waylon Jennings. Through it all, Cyrus ends up with a rather self-evident lesson: "the most meaningful things in life are the ones you have to work the hardest for." (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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