CMA Fest Week: Billy Ray And Collin Raye Talk To All Access About The State Of Country Music and 'NASH Icons'
June 6, 2014 at 4:10 PM (PT)
ALL ACCESS attended the red carpet movie premiere for the new Country-music themed motion picture, "LIKE A COUNTRY SONG," starring BILLY RAY CYRUS and JOEL SMALLBONE, with a cameo appearance by LARRY GATLIN. Last NIGHT’s (6/5) event was held at REGAL GREEN HILLS theater in NASHVILLE as several of the film’s stars and their celebrity friends,came out to preview the faith-based drama. ALL ACCESS spoke with two "RAY(E)s" in attendance: BILLY RAY (CYRUS) and COLLIN RAYE.
Having numerous acting credits under his belt, ALL ACCESS asked CYRUS why he had gravitated towards this particular project. He replied, "I thought it was a great script, and the storyline of faith, redemption, and never giving up, really resonated with me. I’ve always believed that I do what I do for a reason, and I was looking for purpose. I found a great deal of purpose in this film."
While CYRUS has had many projects -- ranging from music to acting -- with the thread of faith interwoven throughout, we just had to ask if he had received any backlash from his fans regarding his controversial video collaboration with BUCK 22 on "ACHY BREAKY 2" seen here.
"I do what I do for the passion of making music, and sometimes you just have to do things for the fun of it," he replied.
Because BILLY RAY has been putting out music that spans multiple decades, we also wanted to get his opinion on the forthcoming "NASH ICONS" brand, that would seemingly give new life to the artists we have all grown up on -- himself included.
"I’m on It!" CYRUS excitedly exclaimed. "My new album is on the NASH ICONS label, and it is called 'The Distance.' Some of my friends who joined me on the album, the late GEORGE JONES, LORETTA LYNN, MILEY also has a song on it ... It’s an honor to be a part of the legacy of Country music -- music that’s heard around the world. I’m just proud to be a part of it."
Adding to the conversation was Country artist COLLIN RAYE who was in attendance to support the film’s Co-Producer/Music Supervisor/Songwriter and friend, TAMMY HYLER (who incidentally, used to date RAYE ... and then they broke up ... after which, she wrote the song "I Can Still Feel You" ... and then he recorded it ... awkward much?).
"The timing for a movie related to Country music as this movie does, couldn’t be better," he said. "I’ve been calling loudly through the press for NASHVILLE to get back to being a song-driven industry again. It has kind of lost that over the past few years. I waited for a bit like everyone did, but I’m getting tired of the way it is, and I think it needs to come back to being about the great songs again, from HANK WILLIAMS and on. It’s artists from LITTLE JIMMIE DICKENS and up, who are saying ‘Please! Enough with the Bro-Country,’ Let’s get back to what made NASHVILLE great and what built all those buildings down on MUSIC ROW in the first place, and is really what Country music fans want. We’ve abandoned those fans over the past few years just to play to one demographic -- the Bro-Country demographic. And that’s fine, they can have their own deal. They can have their own separate awards ceremony. Call it the ‘BRO-COUNTRY AWARDS’ or the ‘REDNECK PARTY BOY AWARDS.’ You can give away awards for 'Best Duet With NELLY,' 'Best Six-pack,' Best Tattoo Groupie' ... but don’t let all that take away what so many people sweated blood to create. I think we are primed for a return to that."
He continued, "I think the NASH ICONS concept is great! I think it’s been a matter of time ... and when MR. BORCHETTA announced it two weeks ago, that speaks volumes. SCOTT doesn’t do anything that he doesn’t think is going to succeed. He knows, and feels what everyone is screaming for, ‘What happened to our industry?!’ When you see Country singers rapping, well a little bit of that is fine. But when hundreds of records -- one after the other -- I’m afraid, as I think he (BORCHETTA) is, that if we don’t do something, that we are going to lose our identity like Rock-n-Roll did. What happened to Rock? It’s gone. There is no place for it to be played anymore because it didn’t protect its identity. We’re doing the same thing. But I think with what CUMULUS and SCOTT are doing is a valiant effort to save our music, and I think it’s going to work. I was talking to LARRY GATLIN and DARRYL WORLEY the other night. We were all saying that the reason we got into this business in the first place was because we wanted to be a part of that (the Country music genre, as it used to be); that thing that had so much integrity and beauty to it. I don’t want it to be something that we think of in the past like, ‘Oh, I remember that thing called "Country music" What happened to it?’ If I am played on the NASH ICONS programming, great! But if I’m not, I’ll definitely be listening to it, and supporting it."