Songwriter Billy Joe Shaver performs and shares stories from his colorful life and career live in the Ford Theater on September 15, 2018, as part of the Museum's Poets and Prophets series, which spotlights songwriters who have made significant contributions to country music.
Billy Joe Shaver opens the program with “Honky Tonk Heroes,” the leadoff track on Waylon Jennings’s 1973 album of the same name, stocked almost entirely with songs Shaver wrote or co-wrote. A prime example of the music made during the heyday of country’s Outlaw movement, “Honky Tonk Heroes” elevated Shaver’s stock as a songwriter.
During the program, Shaver also performs “Old Five and Dimers Like Me,” “I’m Just an Old Chunk of Coal” (recorded by John Anderson) and “You Can’t Beat Jesus Christ.”
Shaver shares memories of growing up in Corsicana, Texas, getting exposed to country music while accompanying his mother to the Waco honky-tonk where she worked, and eventually hitchhiking his way to Nashville. He candidly discusses his professional and personal struggles over the years, including disagreements with other artists, losing his fingers in a sawmill accident, his on-again-off-again relationship with his wife, his battle with substance abuse and depression, and the death of his son and collaborator, Eddy Shaver.
Shaver also recounts the stories behind his songs “Ride Me Down Easy,” recorded by Bobby Bare, and “Good Christian Soldier,” recorded by Kris Kristofferson.
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