Billy Ray Cyrus makes his return to network TV next week, when Still the King airs its first episode on June 12th. Starring the country singer as an out-of-luck Elvis impersonator posing as the preacher of a small-town church, the CMT show — which was partially written and produced by Cyrus himself — inspired its star to revisit an old song from his catalog.
Released this week, “Hey Elvis” is the first single from Thin Line, Cyrus’ upcoming album. Cyrus recorded an earlier version of the roadhouse rockabilly tune for 2000’s Southern Rain. This time, though, the song receives a makeover from its co-writer, Bryan Adams, and Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes, both of whom share vocal duties with Cyrus.
“‘Hey Elvis’ is a song Bryan wrote with Gretchen Peters,” Cyrus tells Rolling Stone Country, “and he joins me on the song, singing with Glenn Hughes. Those two are like peanut butter and jelly, man. It just goes. And Glenn isn’t just joining me vocally; he’s playing bass, too, adding that magic pocket.”
Both Adams and Hughes are missing from the song’s music video, which focuses on footage from Still the King‘s earliest episodes. Randy Travis makes a cameo as a stern policeman, and and rest of the clip unfolds like an expanded, tongue-in-cheek trailer for the show, showing Cyrus twisting his hips in an Elvis-in-Vegas jumpsuit, raising his arms skyward in front of a congregation and rocking an Eighties mullet during the show’s flashback sequences.
“You can’t make this up,” says Cyrus, who rocked his own mullet during the “Achy Breaky Heart” days. “It’s a thin line between what’s real and make belief. Between reality and art.”