Billy Ray was born August 25, 1961, and raised in the small Eastern Kentucky town of Flatwoods. His paternal grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher, and his father Ron, sang in the gospel group, "The Crownsmen Quartet." His maternal grandfather was a hoedown fiddler, and his mother Ruth Ann played bluegrass with him on Saturday nights.
Acting on "intuition, and an inner voice" he bought a guitar when he was 20. And thus the first step was taken down the long road to fame. For years, Cyrus believed in his dream. Week in, week out, month in, month out, he felt the sting of rejection in Nashville -- just like thousands of country boys before him.
But on May 19, 1992, his wildest fantasies became reality. That is the date of the release of "Some Gave All," one of the most explosively successful debut albums in music history. It gave us "Achy Breaky Heart," "Could've Been Me," "Wher'm I Gonna Live," "She's Not Cryin' Anymore," and "Some Gave All," five hits that were omnipresent on the country airwaves. Cyrus capped off the year by marring his sweetheart Leticia Finley, (Who goes by the name Tish).
While he could have taken a break and enjoyed the spotlight, Cyrus didn't rest on his laurels. He released "It Won't Be the Last" in 1993, Storm in the Heartland in 1994, and Trail of Tears in 1996, Shot Full of Love in 1998, and Southern Rain in 2000. Even though it would have been easier for him to have recorded more of the "County Pop" tunes that made him famous, Cyrus decided to add more Rock and Blues sounds to his songs. He trusted that his fans would rather that his music came from the heart instead of every song sounding as though it came from "Some Gave All". His instincts were correct and records were well received by his fans, but they didn't make the same impression on the Pop music scene.
His albums were not the only things that were born during the decade. He and Tish added on to their blended family of his son Christopher and her two children, son Trace and daughter Brandi. First came a daughter named Destiny, then son Braison, and eight days after the turn of the century, another daughter named Noah was born. Cyrus delighted in taking his wife and children with him when he was on concert tours. Although at times he would have to share the stage with Destiny (Now called Miley) who always managed to wrangle her way into her father concerts.
In 1999, Cyrus wanted to try his hand at acting and managed to get a part in a movie here and there. However as a devout Christian, he was upset by the lack of morals, not just in Hollywood, but in the very films in which he was acting in. After finishing the film "Mulholland Dr.", he told God that he was finished unless God could make a way. About that time, the producers of the series "Doc" wanted him for the title role. When he and Tish read the script for the pilot episode, Cyrus realized that his prayer had been answered. The family friendly show not only allowed him to keep his Christian values, it also allowed him to be a witness for the Lord. "Doc" went on to be the most successful show on the PAX TV (Now ION TV) network. During the series, Cyrus was able to record two albums "Time Flies" in 2004 and "The Other Side" in 2004.
After "Doc" completed its run, Cyrus decided that he wanted to take a break, but fate intervened with another acting gig. Unbeknownst to him, he had plenty of experience for the role, as he began training for the part when his son Christopher was born and he continued to expand on it when Tish's children Trace and Brandi joined the Cyrus family. By the time he and Tish had Miley, Braison, and Noah, all he had to do was wait for the role to come. Cyrus daughter Miley had been cast in a new TV series for the Disney Channel called "Hannah Montana" and they were looking for someone to play the father on the show. Originally, Cyrus refused to audition for the part, but Tish and Miley kept insisting that he was obviously the right person for the role. The Producers loved his audition and offered him the part. "Hannah Montana" premiered to one of the largest audiences Disney Channel has ever had for an original series and it immediately became a hit. The role of Robbie Stewart allows Cyrus to sing occasionally and one of the episodes featured a song off of his 2005 album "Wanna Be Your Joe". The writers of the show often write in jokes about Cyrus’ past celebrity and of course the song "Achy Breaky Heart", with his blessing.
Now days, most people address him as "Miley’s Dad", But he never minds and he’s actually proud to be known as that.©
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