Billy Joe Shaver: Live at Billy Bob’s Texas

Written by July 19th, 2012 at 11:51 am

Billy Joe Shaver
Live at Billy Bob’s Texas
(Smith Music Group)
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

There are plenty of Billy Joe Shaver concert albums already on the market (1995’s Unshaven:Live at Smith’s Olde Bar is particularly notable) but no new music since 2007’s heavily spiritual “Everybody’s Brother.” There has been a lot of water under Shaver’s weather-beaten bridge since, including that nasty dust-up in Waco (now immortalized by “Wacko from Waco,” one of two solid new studio tracks tacked onto the end of this disc) and various health issues. But this CD/DVD combo, recorded in September 2011, shows the 73-year-old Shaver still has plenty of gas left in his tank. Backed by a hot young three piece, the Texas honky-tonk hero slings out an hour’s worth of his tough outlaw music perhaps best known through covers from Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and many others. A somber a cappella “Star in My Heart,” dedicated to his late guitar playing son Eddy, and the following acoustic “Live Forever” will bring a tear to the toughest cowboy’s eye and his performance of the classic “Old Five and Dimers” shows that even though his voice isn’t as powerful as it once was, it’s laced with the trials, tribulations and life scars of one of country music’s most underrated tunesmiths.

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