With a guest appearance by his more famous cousin, country singer and songwriter Bobby Cyrus of Louisa will debut on the Great American Country channel today with a video for the song “Milkman’s Eyes.”
“We shot the part with Billy Ray and myself in Nashville at a place called Winners — which is right next to a place called Losers,” Cyrus said this week amid a whirlwind of business meetings in Music City as part of the pending launch of his new recording “Homeplace.”
Cyrus said everyone involved had a tight schedule, including cousin Billy Ray Cyrus, whose mother became ill and was in the hospital while they were set to shoot. “You know he was really cool about doing this. We first did this song together at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg back in ’06 and we had both lost our dads the year before. We wanted to do something fun and light-hearted together at the end of the show and he had planned to sing ‘Pain in My Gas,’ and I said, ‘I got one you probably ain’t heard in a while,’” Cyrus said, recalling the song co-written by Flatwoods resident Jim McKnight and Billy Ray Cyrus in 1982.
“I had a cassette demo of that song that Billy Ray recorded in his bedroom ... Billy didn’t even know I knew that song. They put out two guitars and two stools for us that night and the place went nuts over it. Billy said, ‘You need to cut that song,’ and I said, ‘Only if you do it with me.’”
The cousins teamed back up to record the song for Cyrus’ first record, with Billy Ray adding backup vocals as well as taking a turn on the verses of “Milkman’s Eyes.” For the video, they called upon the help of buddy Jimmy Carr. “He’s a great songwriter and a longtime friend, and he is funnier than a monkey. We had him play the milkman,” Cyrus said with a laugh.
The song and video take a humorous glance at a familiar tale, Cyrus said.
“It’s the old story about, you know ... the men are all gone to work in the ’50s when you had milkmen running around delivering bottles,” he said.
Cyrus said he is confident people will judge his music for what he brings to it, and not based on his relationship to an established star. “Billy has done great with his music and his career. I’m a fan of Billy Ray Cyrus. But, being related to him doesn’t enter my thought process,” he said. “This was a great opportunity to do something fun and cool with my cousin. I mean, I guess it is working for me right now, but we are different. I’m a little more country than him.”
While many describe Cyrus’ sound as traditional country, the singer isn’t so sure that’s especially accurate. “Really, I want the fans to tell me what they think it is. I call it country music.”
Cyrus, 43, remains a proud resident of Louisa.
“I do not live in Nashville,” he said with a chuckle, explaining he drives to Music City often and maintains the highest appreciation for everyone who has helped him get this far. Even with the major splash of a video to help promote his new album, which will be released Dec. 1, Cyrus said isn’t counting on fame and fortune just yet.
“It’s been over 20 years chasing this thing,” he said. “There’s no guarantees in the music business, but the bottom line is we’re doing it.”
The video for “Milkman’s Eyes” is scheduled to air on GAC at 1:15 p.m. local time.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2651.