Fellow songwriters shower their love on Billy Joe Shaver throughout this concert recording from his 65th birthday bash in Austin. Whereas tribute albums typically feature a variety of performers interpreting the honoree's material, here, many of the Texas troubadours choose to play their own songs influenced by Shaver or ones the rough-hewn renegade specifically requested for the occasion. The birthday boy proves his own best interpreter, opening the album with a hard-charging rendition of "Georgia on a Fast Train" and closing with the raucous resilience of "Try and Try Again" (in which he deals with the death of his wife and his son) and the soulful transcendence of "Tramp on Your Street." The between-song patter highlights the proceedings, with the respect Shaver receives from peers such as Guy Clark
and Jimmie Dale Gilmore
(who brings tremulous heartbreak to Shaver's "Hearts-a-Bustin'") equaling the awe he elicits from younger troubadours such as Todd Snider
and Jack Ingram
. As Joe Ely
suggests, no one has found "a way of combining the spiritual and the honky-tonk" quite like Billy Joe. --Don McLeese
This live CD documents Billy Joe Shavers 65th birthday tribute held on August 16, 2004 at the Paramount Theatre inAustin, Texas. It was an all-star affair for the legendary performer and songwriter, with Billy Joe performing four numbers to boot! The CD is enhanced with a bonus video of Todd Snider's performance of "Waco Moon". A portion of the proceeds will benefit the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Compadre. 2005.