« March 22, 2013

Billy Joe Shaver

Final SXSW Live Shots
Review by Tim Stegall

Billy Joe Shaver

Stage on Sixth, March 14

You walk in, and honky-tonk survivor Billy Joe Shaver launches a monologue about Dale Watson writing "Where Do You Want It?," about the former's infamous shooting incident. "It wasn't worth a damn," Shaver drawls. "I mean, it was a good song, but they used it as evidence against me in the trial! So, this'un's called 'Wacko From Waco.'" Shaver's in top form, sampling a good 45 minutes of his hard country classics: "I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train," "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal," "Honky Tonk Heroes," the list is endless. As he fronts a band that could be the Supersuckers with great humor and a weathered delivery, you grasp how many late 20th century treasures Shaver, 73, has penned. An ambassador to old-school music values, to unvarnished honky-tonk, to progressive country as a Harlan-Howard-meets-Bob-Dylan figure, he also preserves the vintage era of Hank Williams and Ray Price. Billy Joe Shaver remains the diamond he promised he'd been in that song about a chunk of coal.