5 Reasons To Go See - Billy Joe Shaver
- Ninian Dunnett
- 27 March 2008
- He’s the real McCoy (and then some)
The son of Texan cotton-pickers and moonshine-runners, BJS arrived in Nashville on the back of a cantaloupe truck after spells as a farmhand, sailor, rodeo bum, and lumber mill worker (he lost two fingers to the saw).
- He’s also, incidentally, the bee’s knees
Waylon Jennings made a whole album out of Shaver’s songs (Honky Tonk Heroes was a landmark in the ‘outlaw country’ movement, returning the music to its roots after years of showbiz sugaring). Cash, Dylan and Elvis have recorded his stuff, too.
- He’s a visionary
In 1978, in Nashville, in between chasing women, doing drugs and smoking Camel cigarettes, he saw Jesus (subsequently writing the classic ‘I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal . . . but I’m Gonna be a Diamond Some Day’).
- When it comes to a lyric, BJS has it licked
‘The devil made me do it the first time. The second time I done it on my own.’
- How often do you come across someone called ‘Billy Joe’ in an Edinburgh bar?
This is one of those legend-in-a-small-room opportunities; no hype required.
Pleasance Cabaret Bar, Edinburgh, Fri 4 Apr.