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Billy Ray Is Achy Breaky Hot

August 02, 1992

"Taking Billy Ray to Market," by Michael McCall (July 19), is one more piece of evidence supporting the belief that country (and western, lest we forget) is big business.

However, this concept is nothing new to those who follow the genre. What is new and rather baffling is the tremendous amount of unfounded criticism that is being leveled at Billy Ray Cyrus and those who are guiding his career. These volleys have come from inside the country music industry as well as from outsiders and, for the most part, amount to little more than sour grapes of an unknown variety.

The facts are these: Country and western is in the midst of a renaissance thanks to artists who hold wide appeal, such as Dwight Yoakam, Hank Williams Jr., Garth Brooks and, more recently, Cyrus. Competing head to head with rock 'n' roll, blues and other forms of music requires ingenuity and imagination of the type that surrounded the release of "Achy Breaky Heart."

As for Cyrus' talent, it's in there! All 3-million-plus people who have listened to the entire album "Some Gave All" can vouch for this. His voice is strong and colorful; the emotions he communicates to his audience are deep and varied.

This man is a serious contender in the music industry, marketing and hoopla aside. And from what McCall reports, Cyrus deserves every ounce of success he has achieved.

JANA PENDRAGON

Long Beach

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