Joel Ryan, AP
"I don't know what would have happened had I not given that interview," Billy Ray acknowledges to Country Weekly. "I know that the things that I spoke about, that I was extremely worried about, are better now. I felt like something bad was going to happen, and trust me, I'd much rather it happen to me than to Miley. If I had to get up and get spanked [by the media] for speaking about something that concerned me as a father ... I'd rather it happen to me than have to look at the result of something else happening that perhaps could have been far worse."
The 'Achy Breaky Heart' singer, who is reconciled with his wife Tish after a painful separation, says the family unit is stronger than ever. "We're probably better off now than we've been in quite some time," he notes.
The Kentucky native is spending the next few months promoting his new album, 'I'm American,' which is a collection of patriotic tunes that also celebrate the 20th anniversary of his hit, 'Some Gave All.' "[It's a] tribute to veterans and the men and women who are sacrificing so much for our freedom," Billy Ray tells The Boot, "and the sacrifice their entire family is making."
The new CD, which includes guest appearances by Jamey Johnson, Craig Morgan, Darryl Worley and Amy Grant, is already in the Top 25 on the charts.