Ode to Billy Joe

Billy Joe Shaver was the songwriter du jour for the outlaw country movement of the 1970s, penning tunes recorded by Kris Kristofferson, Bobby Bare and Johnny Cash. Waylon Jennings even did a whole album of Shaver compositions, 1973's Honky Tonk Heroes, often credited for kicking off the movement that would make Waylon and Willie and the boys superstars. Unfortunately, Billy Joe never quite met with the same success, despite glowing endorsements from the giants of country music (Johnny Cash once called him his favorite songwriter, while Willie Nelson has said that Shaver "may be the best songwriter alive today"). Like Cash, Shaver experienced renewed success in the '90s (though on a much smaller scale), recording several well-received albums with his son Eddy, a talented guitarist who died tragically of a heroin overdose on December 31, 2000—a blow that closely followed the cancer-related deaths of Shaver's wife and mother in 1999. Since then, Shaver has turned tragedy into artistic triumph, releasing albums at a steady clip and continuing to tour despite suffering an on-stage heart attack (at Texas' oldest dance hall, no less) in 2001. Saturday he'll take the stage at the Sons of Hermann Hall, 3414 Elm St., for a set promoting his upcoming Greatest Hits album. Tickets are $20; the show starts at 9 p.m. Visit frontgatetickets.com.
Fri., Aug. 3, 9 p.m.
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Noah W. Bailey
Contact: Noah W. Bailey