Billy Joe Shaver Will Be Long In The Tooth

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

billyjoeshaver

 

BILLY JOE SHAVER RELEASES LONG IN THE TOOTH,
HIS FIRST NEW STUDIO ALBUM SINCE
EVERYBODY’S BROTHER IN 2008,
OUT AUGUST 5 ON LIGHTNING ROD RECORDS
Legendary Texas outlaw songwriter celebrates upcoming
75th birthday

 

Produced by Ray Kennedy and Gary Nicholson, album features guests Willie Nelson,
Leon Russell, Tony Joe White, Shawn Camp, Jedd Hughes, Joel Guzman and more.

The first thing I want to say about Billy Joe Shaver is who has covered his songs.  This is a list I got from his website (under the beautifully titled tab Owed To Billie Joe), which I repeat in full, for dramatic effect.

 

All American Band Honky Tonk Heroes
Allman Brothers Band Sweet Mama
  I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Anderson, John I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Annie Duggan Band Live Forever
Asleep at the Wheel Way Down Texas Way
Aulridge, Mike Bottom Dollar
Babcock, Jim I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Backyard Tire Fire Black Rose
Bare, Bobby Freezing in El Paso
  Jesus Christ, What a Man
  Laying Here Lying in Bed
  Music City USA
  Ride Me Down Easy
  Short and Sweet
  How About You
  Rosa Lee
  Jesus is the Only One Who Loves Us
  New York City Snow
  Christian Soldier
  West Virginia Woman
  I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
  Restless Wind
Barnes, Steve & Country Money You Asked Me To
Benoit, Tab Comin’ On Strong
Betts, Dickey & Great Southern I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Big Bull Band You Asked Me To
Birmingham, Jarrod Ride Me Down Easy
Big City Sunrise I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Bob Nolan Ride Me Down Easy
Boland, Jason When the Word was Thunderbird
Bookbinder, Roy I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Boland, Jason When the Word was Thunderbird
Slow Rollin’ Low
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Bowen, Wade & West 84 You Asked Me To
Bowman, Don Poetic Justice
Bradley, Dale Ann Live Forever
BR549 I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Brown, Bob I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
  Sweet Mama
Brown, Jim Ed Layin’ Here Lyin’ in Bed
Brown, Joe I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Brumer, Pavel Honky Tonk Heroes (Blues Deravejch Dusi)
Bruno, Pavel When the Fallen Angels Fly
Brunson, Jan When the Fallen Angels Fly
Carter, Adam Good News Blues
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Cash, John Carter I Been To Georgia on a Fast Train
Cash, Johnny Cowboy Who Started the Fight
  It Ain’t Nothing New Babe
  Lately I Been Leanin’ Toward the Blues
  I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
  I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
  If I Give My Soul
  When Jesus was Our Savior
  You Just Can’t Beat Jesus Christ
Cash, Johnny & June Carter Live Forever
Casinos Restless Wind
Channing, Carol I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Chapman, Marshall You Asked Me To
Chesnutt, Mark Honky Tonk Heroes
Clueless Willy the Wandering Gypsy & Me
Coe, David Allen Ride Me Down Easy
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Confederate Railroad I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
  Honky Tonk Heroes
Country Profile Ride Me Down Easy
Crane, Joan I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Crary, Dan Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Creager, Roger Love is So Sweet
Delta Kings If I Give My Soul
Diamondback Texas Hottest Thing in Town
  I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Drag the River Ride Me Down Easy
Duvall, Robert Live Forever
Dylan, Bob Old Five and Dimers Like Me
Dynobil Ride Me Down Easy
Easter, Jeff & Sheri Live Forever
Eleven Hundred Springs Omaha
  You Asked Me To
Ely, Joe Live Forever
Fast Freddie & the Cliffhangers I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Fesaci Good Christian Soldier (Kousek Lasky)
Ford, Tennesse Ernie I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Fowler, Damon I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Freak Mountain Ramblers I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Garner, Beth I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Gilmore, Jimmie Dale & Colin Hearts a-Bustin’
Glaser, Tompall Willy the Wandering Gypsy & Me
Good Lord Knows I Tried
Goodman, Steve Christian Soldier
Gospel Sounds Jesus Christ, What a Man
Gourds Omaha
Gravity I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Greene, Gary I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Greenhorns Silver Wings of Time (Jestrab Cas)
  Old Five and Dimers Like Me (Matciny Ruze)
Griffith, Nanci You Asked Me To
The Gun Hands Honky Tonk Heroes
Hall, Tom T. Old Five and Dimers Like Me
  Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Hamilton, Nathan  & No Deal Black Rose
Harris, Emmylou Old Five and Dimers
Hartford, John You Asked Me To
Hayden, Rodney Black Rose
Helm, Billy I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Henderson, Bugs Tramp on Your Street
High Jacks Hottest Thing in Town
Highwaymen Live Forever
Howard, Randy I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Hubbard, Ray Wylie Black Rose
Hunter, Billy D. Old Five and Dimers
You Asked Me To
Slow Rollin’ Low
Hurricane Sam Honky Tonk Heroes
Jackson, Stonewall I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Jennings, Tommy You Asked Me To
Jennings, Waylon Slow Rollin’ Low
  Honky Tonk Heroes
  Old Five and Dimers Like Me
  Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
  Low Down Freedom
  Omaha
  You Asked Me To
  Ride Me Down Easy
  Ain’t No God in Mexico
  Black Rose
Jimbob Convoy Black Rose
Jones, George Tramp on Your Street
Jones, Tom If I Give My Soul
Julips I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Just the Boyz If I Give My Soul
Kornrich, Mike Honky Tonk Heroes
Keen, Robert Earl Bottom Dollar
Live Forever
Keillor, Garrison Merry Christmas to You
Kershaw, Doug Black Rose
Knight, Tommy I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Kommander Frankie You Asked Me To
Krauss, Alison You Asked Me To
Kristofferson, Kris Christian Soldier
  Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
LaRue, Stoney Honky Tonk Heroes
Lazy Cowgirls Goodbye to Yesterday
Lazy Dogs Moonshine and Indian Blood
Good News Blues
LeDoux, Chris Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Lewis Family I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Lewis, Little Roy & Lizzie Young You  Asked Me To
Lewis, Jerry Lee Bottom Dollar
When I Get My Wings
Lewis, Laurie  & The Right Hand Live Forever
Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials Tramp on Your Street
London, Bridgitte You Asked Me To
Loveless, Patty When the Fallen Angels Fly
Mark Stuart and the Bastard Sons I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Metroschifter I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Midnight Ramblers I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Miklos, Mark I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Minglewood, Matt I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Moore, Dallas Black Rose
  Hottest Thing in Town
Moore, Lanky Love You Til the Cows Come Home
Morgan, Whitey & the Waycross GA Farmboys Ride Me Down Easy
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Honky Tonk Heroes
Morrow, Cory I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Morrow, Cory & Pat Green Live Forever
Mothertruckers Ride Me Down Easy
  When I Get My Wings
Neil, Fred Bottom Dollar
Nelson, Willie Black Rose
  I Couldn’t Be Me Without You
  Old Five and Dimers Like Me
  I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Nolan, Bob Ride Me Down Easy
Nolan, Scott Good News Blues
Oakridge Boys Jesus Christ, What a Man
Ochs, Kevin Ride Me Down Easy
 Østlien, Hans Magnar When the Fallen Angels Fly
Outlaws & Angels I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Panama Red Bottom Dollar
Paul, Billy Bottom Dollar
Party Hit Kings Honky Tonk Heroes
Paycheck, Johnny Ragged Ol’ Truck
Payne, Waylon I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Presley, Elvis You Asked Me To
Railbenders Black Rose
Radio Sweethearts I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Randy Rodgers Band Black Rose
Rattlesnake Annie My Mother’s Name is Victory
Ray, Colin & Joe Diffie Honky Tonk Heroes
Reckless Kelly Hottest Thing in Town
Rex, Buford Honky Tonk Heroes
Ritter, Tex Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Robison, Bruce & Kelly Willis Ride Me Down Easy
Rock ‘N’ Roll Outlaw Black Rose
Roka-Billys You Asked Me To
Rodgers, Gamble Honky Tonk Heroes
Rodriguez, Johnny I Couldn’t Be Me Without You
Texas Uphere Tennessee
New York City Snow
  Good Lord Knows I Tried
  Ride Me Down Easy
Russell, Tom I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Secret Sessions (Hunter, Lainge, West) Low Down Freedom
Seiter, Leon I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Seldom Scene Ride Me Down Easy
Sellers, Melissa Live Forever
Shaver, Eddy Good News Blues
Shawn Z I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Shuey Brothers Bottom Dollar
Slow Rollin’ Lows Slow Rollin’ Low
Smith, Paul The Road
Skeeters Honey Chile
  Alabama Love Song
  Mothertrucker
Snider, Todd Live Forever
  Good News Blues
  Bottom Dollar
  Ragged Ol’ Truck
  Deja Blues
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Ride Me Down Easy
Solcich, Tempest Hill Country Love Song
Sons of the Pioneers Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Spahetti, Eddie Bottom Dollar
St. Clair, Johnny Black Rose
Steagall, Red Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me
Stexyk, Marc & Karl Hinson I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Stuart, Marty If I Give My Soul
Taylor, Jackson Slow Rolling Low
  Ride Me Down Easy
  Black Rose
  Ragged Ol’ Truck
Honky Tonk Heroes
Tennessee Rounders Black Rose
Tenpenney, Steve Black Rose/I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Toad Hole Flats Old Five & Dimers
Top Country (studio band) You Asked Me To
Trey Stapleton Band I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Tucny, Michael Live Forever (Ja Budu Zit Na Veky)
Tuka, Onkel Hvis Jeg Gir Min Sjel (If I Give My Soul)
Twangbangers I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Two Cow Garage I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Union Sundown If I Give My Soul
Vycital, Honza Jestrab Cas (Silver Wings of Time)
Von Ehrics I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Waddell, David Mothertrucker
Waldron, Cliff Ride Me Down Easy
Walker, Jerry Jeff Old Five and Dimers Like Me
Walker, Scott Low Down Freedom
  Black Rose
  Ride Me Down Easy
  Old Five and Dimers Like Me
Washington Ratso & Jesse Taylor I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Watson, Aaron I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Watson, Dale You Asked Me To
Welch, Mary Star in My Heart
Westerburg, Paul Live Forever
Whitfield, Barrance & Tom Russell Black Rose
Whiting, Joe Live Forever
Whitley, Keith To Be Loved By a Woman
Ride Me Down Easy
Widespread Panic I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal
Williams, Robin & Linda Hill Country Love Song
Wonderland, Carolyn Honky Tonk Heroes
Woodall, Jeremy Black Rose
  Love You ‘Til the Cows Come Home
I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train
Wright, Kenny Honky Tonk Heroes

 

He may not be a household name but Billy Joe Shaver’s songs are all-pervasive.


Long in the Tooth, Shaver’s new album is set for an August 5 2014 release on Lightning Rod Records through Thirty Tigers. “Each song is different with different beats and different kinds of music,” he says. “I even have one rap song. The titles are all so catchy like “It’s Hard to Be an Outlaw” (see below for a link) and “The Git Go”. Those are pretty hard to beat. Songwriting is gut wrenching, but if you dig down and write real honest you’ll find something real great.  I believe everybody should write. It’s the cheapest psychiatrist there is and, God knows, I still need one”.

Long in the Tooth is said to spotlight all the highs, lows and in-betweens from Shaver’s storied career, an evolving narrative never short on colour.  “The record’s about me,” says Shaver, who turns 75 years old in August.  “I’ve written a lot of great songs and I’m still writing great songs, but I felt neglected.  I have been, actually.  The reluctance to play old people’s music is as bad as it was to play young people’s music.  I think it should level out where everyone can hear good art, but it seems like radio doesn’t play older people’s music.  Man, it’s like throwing out the Mona Lisa.  I don’t understand, but I’m just so proud of Long in the Tooth.  This record will be a gigantic step”.

Honky Tonk Heroes was the record that skyrocketed Shaver into public consciousness four decades ago.  Waylon Jennings’ landmark album delivered Shaver-written classics practically every measure: “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” (covered also by Bob Dylan), “Willy the Wandering Gypsy and Me,” “Ride Me Down Easy,” the title track and the Top 10 hit “You Asked Me To.”  In fact, ten of the album’s eleven songs were written or co-written by Shaver.  It established him as a singular songwriter, a man whose earthy poetry resonates across the board. He’s doubled down ever since.

“That’s kind of like my trophies,” Shaver admits.  “Instead of getting CMA Awards, that means a whole lot more to me.  When you write songs, and you write good songs, people will always remember you.  Words will always outlive us.  And if your name is attached to those words, you’re gonna live forever.”

The Corsicana, Texas native’s Lone Star State roots run deep: His great-great-great grandfather, Revolutionary War veteran Evan Thomas Watson, was one of the founders of the Texas Republic.  Shaver was raised in hardscrabble circumstances by his grandmother, working on farms and selling newspapers on the street in his youth.  He sang and made up songs “since I could talk,” and was inspired in his childhood to keep at it after sneaking out of home one night to catch a country music show where he heard Hank Williams early in his career.

 

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He drew a connection between country and blues from an uncle’s record collection and the neighboring African-American farm workers’ music.  “Country music is really close to being the blues, and rock ’n’ roll ain’t nothing but the blues with a beat.  That’s about it,” he says.  Shaver was given a Gene Autry guitar by his grandmother at age eleven and began playing until his stepfather gave it away a few years later as payment for yard work.  Following a brief stint in the Navy at age sixteen, a stab at professional rodeo, and the aforementioned incident losing parts of his fingers, Shaver took up playing guitar again and devoted himself to songwriting.

He hitchhiked to Nashville in 1965 and eventually earned a $50-a-week writer’s deal with Bobby Bare’s publishing company.  Soon Jennings picked up those Shaver classics for Honk Tonk Heroes.  As The Washington Post notes, “When the country outlaws were collecting their holy writings, Billy Joe Shaver was carving out Exodus.”  He followed his debut on the Monument label with three albums on Capricorn Records and two on Columbia through 1987, seeing little commercial success with his recordings but winning rave reviews and the admiration of his musical peers.

In 1993, he broke through with new generations and broader audiences as the currently booming Americana and Texas roots music and singer-songwriter scenes were gathering steam with the acclaimed Tramp On Your Street, united with his late guitar-playing son Eddy as simply Shaver.  He has since issued eleven more independent albums, was honored with the first Americana Music Award for Lifetime Achievement in Songwriting in 2002, and inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.

As his well-deserved public recognition came in the 1990s, Shaver was cast by his friend and fan Robert Duvall in his acclaimed 1996 film The Apostle, and has since played parts in three other theatrical and TV movies.  He was the subject of a 2004 documentary produced by Duvall, A Portrait of Billy Joe, and published his autobiography, Honky Tonk Hero, the following year.  He also sings the themes to the Adult Swim television show Squidbillies (!!) and “Live Forever” was included in the award-winning hit movie Crazy Heart as its end-credit song.

With these accomplishments behind him, Shaver has been thinking his creative well finally dried up.  After all, he hasn’t released an album with new songs in six years.  “I didn’t think I had another hope in the world of doing another studio album,” Shaver says.  “Then Todd Snider encouraged me to come up to Nashville and I listened.  I knew if I didn’t come out with new songs, it wouldn’t be right.  I’ve promised hundreds of critics that I would.  So, I just buckled down and got the new songs together.  Sure enough, it turned out great.”

Rolling Stone premiered the Billy Joe Shaver and Willie Nelson duet, “Hard to Be An Outlaw” here.

On September 28 2014, Shaver and many of his musical friends and fans will celebrate his 75th birthday with a concert at the Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas.

 

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

Read about Billy Joe Shaver’s new album ‘Long In The Tooth’

 

 

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Author: Rob Dickens

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