I'm American

Billy Ray Cyrus

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I'm American Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Billy Ray Cyrus has a nice habit of telling us what an album is all about through its title. He found himself Home at Last in 2007, went Back to Tennessee in 2009, and now in 2011, he’s declaring I’m American and offering proof via seven new patriotic songs, plus a cover of his early “Some Gave All” with assistance by Darryl Worley, Jamey Johnson, and Craig Morgan. For Cyrus, sounding American means sounding like a ruminative, mumbling Bruce Springsteen, so Billy Ray muscularly strums his guitar while rhapsodizing about the downtrodden working class. It may ape the Boss, but I’m American is relaxed in a way Home at Last never was; Cyrus may be baldly imitating Springsteen, but there’s sincerity here, both in what Billy Ray is singing and how he’s singing about it, which makes this piece of heartland patriotism considerably more engaging than his last few attempts to make country-pop that appeals to everybody.

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