Picks and Pans Review: Southern Rain

updated 11/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/2000 AT 01:00 AM EST

Billy Ray Cyrus (Monument/Sony)

What with his achy-breaky heart and the weight of all that hair, Billy Ray hasn't had a chance to display much of a sense of humor. So it comes as a most pleasant surprise to hear "Hey Elvis" on this album. Co-written by Bryan Adams, the tune is a good-natured send-up of the Elvis-is-alive crowd ("Hey Elvis, is it really true/ We're waiting for a sign from you?"). Cyrus eventually succumbs to the temptation to mumble a Presleyesque "Thankyouverymuch," but most of the track is relatively restrained and benefits from a kicky arrangement by Cyrus and co-producer Terry Shelton. The rest of the album is, for better and worse, standard Cyrus, which means much of it sounds like the work of a frustrated heavy metal singer. "We the People," however, is a tolerable populist tune, and "Love You Back" plays nicely off the double entendre of the title; it's about a guy trying to rewoo his beloved. And "Burn Down the Trailer Park" is amusing in a raucous sort of way. Throughout, honky-tonk piano (by Tim Akers and Steve Nathan) enlivens even the less imaginative tunes.

Bottom Line: Offers some shelter from the rain

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