Braison Cyrus is a talented young singer-songwriter about to release his first folk-country album, and he also just happens to be country music royalty. The 27-year-old, who is a new father, is the second child of Billy Ray and Trish, born in 1994, after his sister Miley. Interestingly, Braison's musical direction has drifted closer to his father's country roots more than his other siblings, which include younger sister Noah and older brother Trace (Braison also has another older sister, Brandi, who is an actress and TV host). Recently, Braison sat down for an interview with PopCulture.com and opened up about his experience, including how he feels about getting his debut album, Javelina, out into the world.
"This year has been the longest and shortest of my life, both at the same time, so it feels like an eternity, but also like a few weeks to me," Braison shared. "I guess we really wanted to get everything right before putting it out." He explained that he really took his time on Javelina because "with a full-length record, you only get one shot, so I think we wanted to make sure everything was good." Initially, Braison had hoped to release the albums sooner, but, as with everything else in the world, the Covid-19 pandemic "pushed things back, and ate into our time a little bit." Recording sessions for Javelina began last September, but for Braison "a year later has been a blink of an eye, but also 10 years."
One of Braison's recent singles is "Black Water," a profoundly Southern folk-rock tune that features country music iconic Steve Earle. Just one listen to the track, which Braison wrote himself, and there is no denying that it would have fit seamlessly on a Levon Helm album. The song was initially inspired by stories coming out of Nashville during a record-breaking heatwave of 2017. "Me and my drummer were reading stories about people getting out of their cars on the freeway in Nashville, on the 65 and beating the crap out of each other," Braison recalled. "So we started from there, and then this murder-y backwoods kind of story started taking shape, and then I just took it from there and ran with it.
Regarding the comparisons to The Band's Helm, Braison said, "Levon was proud, and he loved putting Southern imagery into his music." The singer added, "I feel like sometimes the South gets left out of a lot of these spookier stories, unless it has a Deliverance vibe, which I particularly don't enjoy." That "Deliverance vibe" is something Braison seems determined to fight against, saying that "the south should get away from" it without sacrificing its connection to songs that still capture "the horror, and scary, spooky kind of world."
Braison's style makes him stand out from the rest of his siblings, and his father even, as his brand of music leans more traditional folk than the other Cyrus. It is interesting, however, to learn that the member of his family who had the biggest "impact" on him was his brother Trace, who "used to drive me to school as a kid, whenever he got his license. "He would play me like Coheed and Cambria, and Tegan and Sarah, and kind of all the early emo [and] metal stuff he was listening to. And I loved it."
Trace is well-known as the singer of pop-rock band Metro Station, and that connection to the early 2000s music scene led to Braison bonding with his brother, "especially" over Coheed and Cambria. "He and I, we would listen to that [band] every single day on the way to school just because I loved it." Braison added that he thought Trace "was the coolest dude ever" because no one will ever "be able to pull off the kind of Sid Vicious, Pete Wentz badass that he portrayed back in the day."
Braison's debut album, Javelina, will be released on Oct. 22, via Sunday Supper Records. Fans can check out all his streaming links on his website here. Finally, those interested in catching Braison live will have two upcoming chances: Decatur, Georgia on oct. 26 and Nashville, Tennessee on Oct. 31.