The photo that saved a life - Off-Ramp for April 20, 2013

Ask Billy Ray Cyrus about his 'Hillbilly Heart'

Billy Ray Cyrus

The new Billy Ray Cyrus album includes the song Hillbilly Heart, the name of his new memoir.

Billy Ray Cyrus is stopping by the Mohn Broadcast Center next week to talk with me about his memoir "Hillbilly Heart," and I could use your help. If you have a burning question for him, please leave it below in the comments section.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

I know I'm painting a kind of idyllic picture of my childhood, but that's the way I remember it until the strains of my mom and dad fighting became more common than not. Looking back, I know these were the moves people who had married young had to go through as they realized they were different as adults than they were fresh out of high school. I hated hearing the fighting. It tore me up. I didn't understand what was going on. Nor did I understand why my parents seemed to want to hurt each other.

 It didn't help that my dad was thought of as the Elvis of Southern Gospel. His chiseled good looks and angelic voice were catnip for gospel groupies. After one performance, my mom found lipstick on my dad's collar. Soon after, she recruited her best friend to help spy on my dad. She put Kebo and me in the backseat of her car, and the four of us parked outside a bar in Ironton, Ohio, called the Auger Inn. It had a hand-painted sign in front that read "AUGER IN ... STAGGER OUT." I don't recall what she saw, but it was something incriminating.

I remember some major blowouts. Nothing made me more upset than seeing my mom cry. One day, my brother and I came home from school and immediately sensed a dark cloud hovering above our house. Instead of asking me about the activities in my first grade class, my mom stood with her arms crossed and told Kebo to take me into our room and lock the door. She explained, “Your dad and I are going to have a fight.”

Indeed, my dad came home and the fighting stared. It was horrible. Kebo and I heard plates break, furniture overturned, and a fist go into the wall. Unable to take the screams and cries any longer, I bolted out of my bedroom and wedged myself between them. Everything stopped. In the stillness following the battle, my father glared at my mom and said he was going to leave. Hearing that, I jumped up and wrapped my arms around his chest and wrapped my legs around his waist, clinging like a little monkey.

Without saying anything, he walked past the living room, which was in total disarray, and outside, down the five green steps, and past the birdbath. Finally, he wiped his tears, kissed me on the forehead, and got in his car. Kebo stood nearby, and my mom watched from inside the door. My dad turned on the ignition, backed out of the driveway, and disappeared over the hill. He never returned, and we never again lived under that roof as a family.

 From then on, there was no question that life was not fair.

If you want to see BRC in person, he's at Live Talks LA at the New Roads School Moss Theater (3131 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404) on Wednesday.

 

 


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