Billy Ray Cyrus to perform at U.P. State Fair

ESCANABA — Billy Ray Cyrus – singer, songwriter, and actor – will perform at the U.P. State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 17.

Cyrus comes from humble roots in Flatwoods, Ky., where family jam sessions were common. Learning to adapt to play with his left hand, he joined the Cyrus household in playing country, gospel, and old standards. Cyrus put music aside briefly as he attended Georgetown College on an athletic scholarship for baseball. However, once he picked up a guitar again, he didn’t look back. He and his brother formed a country-rock band, Sly Dog, which performed for two years before coming to an end due to a fire that claimed their home club and gear.

After trying his luck in California, Cyrus returned to Kentucky and focused on his Nashville performances that refined his trademark blend of country and rock. In 1990, Cyrus landed the opportunity to open for Reba McEntire. Having witnessed Cyrus during his large-scale performance, Mercury Records quickly signed him to a record deal. In the same year that his daughter, Miley, was born he released his first single “Achy Breaky Heart.” The chart topper, multi-million selling country single not only launched Cyrus’s career, but also launched the 90s line dancing craze.

Considering the success of his debut album which sold nine million copies, it proved to be difficult for Cyrus to top. As with most popular music, backlash began and Cyrus was criticized for straying from traditional country by adding in his rock-oriented sounds. However, this didn’t stop him from producing platinum albums. Cyrus parted ways with Mercury Records, but his identity of changing the shape of country music allowed him continued success.

While Cyrus continued to produce albums, he also explored other genres, played in Brother Clyde, published an autobiography, and dove into the world of acting. Having celebrated the 25th anniversary of the “Achy Breaky Heart” release, Cyrus decided to celebrate the milestone by having his first tour in years.

Grandstand entertainment at the U.P. State Fair is free with paid admission. A limited number of Gold Circle tickets for up close seating are available by contacting the presenting sponsor, Island Resort and Casino at 877-475-7469 or