SHAVER – Shaver’s Jewels: The Best of Shaver

Album: Shaver's Jewels

Artist: Shaver

Label: New West

Release Date: November 05, 2013



 Billy Joe Shaver is a hell of a songwriter. He’s penned songs for Willie Nelson, Patty Loveless, Kris Kristofferson, Elvis and Waylon Jennings (he actually wrote Jennings’ Outlaw Country masterpiece Honky Tonk Heroes). Hell, he was even name-checked by Bob Dylan in a song (“I Feel a Change Comin’ On”). But despite being the go-to song man for just about everyone in Nashville and Austin within arm’s reach of guitar, Shaver never really got his proper due from the record-buying public.

 Shaver’s Jewels: The Best of Shaver will hopefully serve as a small reminder of sorts for many about this tragically overlooked musician. The record is comprised of 17 songs culled from Shaver’s short-lived band with his son Eddy (called Shaver, naturally). The group started in 1993 and quickly churned out five studio albums before Eddy died of a drug overdose and Billy Joe went back to going it alone.

 In seven short years, the father/son teamed managed to turn in a brilliant set of thinking man’s country; raucous at times (“Thunderbird”) but always smart. Song after song he ticks through some of his favorite themes: redemption (“Son of Calvary,” “You Can’t Beat Jesus Christ”) and proudly waving the outsider flag (“Tramp on Your Street,” “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Love is so Sweet”). But regardless of what topic he is addressing, the lyrics are so brutally honest and self-effacing you can’t help but wince from time to time, especially on a song like “Blood is Thicker Than Water” when Eddy takes over the mic and presumably addresses his dad directly with lyrics like “I’ve seen you pukin’ up your guts and runnin’ with sluts when you were married to my mother.”

 Papa Shaver is still touring and occasionally putting out new music, but he’s never been as prolific as he was with Shaver. This album is a little overdue, but glad to see someone finally pulled this one together.

  DOWNLOAD: “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Tramp on Your Street,” “Live Forever”… hell just buy the whole damn album.


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