For the past year, Grit Daily has been covering the return of country legend, Billy Ray Cyrus. With his latest collaboration with rapper, Lil Nas X, “Old Town Road,” has made it to the top of the Billboard’s Hot 100 list, smashing every record.
As they say, timing is everything. In the case of Cyrus and Lil Nas’ recent success with the big hit, the country artist decided to make a quick stop Saturday night at Miami Valley Gaming, a local slots racino in Lebanon, Ohio. The concert took place at the racino’s grandstand, bringing country fans from Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana all in one room for two hours.
“This is one that we’ve been working on for awhile,” said Jerry Abner, the senior director of marketing at Miami Valley Gaming. “We were looking for a day that routed well for them and us as well. Obviously, timing is everything. With his number one hit, we are really more excited.”
Tickets to the 1,000 seat venue were extremely limited. Having covered Cyrus myself, I was fortunate to have been invited to the show by Cyrus’ team.
Cyrus is known for a list of songs that include “Achy Breaky Heart,” “One Last Thrill,” “In the Heart of a Woman,” “Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” and “Busy Man.”
Last night’s event took fans back to the days of Conway Twitty, ZZ Top, and other classic rock artists, as Cyrus did an impressive job bringing his own edge to these classic hits.
As for the hit song, when it was first released, it had sparked quite the discussion after it was removed from Billboard’s country charts back in May. After the removal, a Billboard spokesperson told Rolling Stone that the song “[did] not embrace enough elements of today’s country music to chart in its current version.”
In an interview with Time, Lil Nas X told them that song was better described as “country trap.”
“It’s not one, it’s not the other,” he explained. “It’s both. It should be on both [charts.]”
It’s important to note that “Old Town Road” is not the first collaboration between a country artist and a rapper—remember Tim McGraw and Nelly’s 2004 duet, “Over and Over?”
Towards the end of the performance, Cyrus gracefully and passionately thanked the audience for bringing the song back up to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard charts:
“What would I do without this little song? Woo! Woah! Man! This is your song. This song is the power of the people and that’s you. They tried to stop this song, and you people just busted the door down, and I love you for it. And we’re gunna go down to that Old Town Road, and we’re gunna ride, ’till we can’t…no more!
As a courtesy, here is a recording of the song’s live performance last night:
A special thank-you to Adkins Publicity and the rest of Cyrus’ team for the continued collaboration.