released August 10th, 2010
from the album - Lately
from all music
Brother Clyde is really Billy Ray Cyrus in hard-rocking grunge clothing. The band was initially conceived in 2009 when Jeffrey Steele, Phil Vassar, and John Waite asked Cyrus to join them in a supergroup of sorts, but by the time the group’s debut album, the self-titled Brother Clyde, appeared on Fontana Records in 2010, the band consisted of Cyrus, ex-Hole/Eagles of Death Metal drummer Samantha Maloney, former Snot guitarist Jamie Miller, guitarist Dan Knight, and bassist Dave Henning, with Steele, Vassar, and Waite nowhere in sight.
Brother Clyde is a five-piece rock band fronted by Billy Ray Cyrus. Cyrus recruited Hole/Eagles of Death Metal drummer Samantha Maloney and former Snot guitarist Jamie Miller, guitarist Dan Knight, and bassist Dave Henning. For Cyrus fans, this set will be a shock: it's a complete 180 from his established persona, yet sounds almost completely uncalculated. It contains only two brief nods to country music without actually indulging the music. Brother Clyde begins with its single, "Lately," a rocker that features rapper King Phaze (of "Yonkers Anthem" fame/infamy), which hints directly at what the rest of the album delivers: a somewhat dated-sounding alternative rock record which contains some inspired, well-crafted songs, and mostly honest emotional performances. Most of these tunes were collaborations between Cyrus and Morris Joseph Tancredi. Big riffing guitars, uncompressed drums, and steady, two- and three-note bass patterns drive eight of these tunes. The mood is dark and world-weary but not without its glimmers, as the slow but slamming "Lie to Me" suggests. This cut, the moody power ballad "Waiting," and the expansive dynamics in "Slip Away" attest to the complications, breakdowns, and hopes in romantic relationships. "Crawl" is slide guitar-driven, hard-bitten Southern blues-rock. Some tracks, — the midtempo power ballad "Son of a Gun" and "Alive" (the latter features guitarist/son Trace Cyrus) — simply don't work; their muddled production excesses amount to little more than modern rock cliches. "The Right Time" is the first glance toward country, but only because Dolly Parton co-wrote and appears on it. A roots rocker, she rises to the band's intensity and helps deliver one of the best cuts here. The version of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line" places Southern-fried boogie blues and Elvis at a crossroads. This cut was recorded in 1998 in a basement with the late Gov't Mule bassist Allen Woody, drummer Owen Hale, keyboardist Johnny Neil, guitarists Mike Estes and Ed King, and harmonica player Michael Jo Sagraves, and tacked onto the end of the disc. Brother Clyde is a mixed bag, but it does reveal Cyrus as far more than a one-trick pony, even though this band recorded it too soon. Despite its formulaic familiarity, it contains some genuinely compelling material and is well worth a listen or three. It will be interesting to see what they come up with after a little more woodshedding.
1 Lately Rivera, Tancredi 3:50
2 Lie to Me Cyrus, Tancredi 4:00
3 Waiting Cyrus, Tancredi 3:50
4 Slip Away Cyrus, Tancredi 3:05
5 Crawl Arentzen, Cyrus, Jones 3:18
6 Son of a Gun Cyrus, Hicks, Houston 4:11
7 How Long Tancredi 4:14
8 Alive Cyrus, Cyrus, Tancredi 4:18
9 The Right Time Cyrus, Parton, Tancredi 3:34
10 I Walk the Line Cash 3:08