Alt.country godfather shows ’em who’s boss
It goes without saying that Billy Joe Shaver—godfather of “outlaw” and “alt” country—is The Real Deal. But to sound such a titular chest thump himself takes both confidence and cajones. Luckily, Shaver’s got both on his first album in three years, and rightfully so. From witty jabs at big-hat stardom to tender weepers verging on collapse, Shaver proves himself country’s most bold and incisive songwriter. After five years of tragedy (losing mother, wife and only son), he’s finally getting some respect outside his Austin stronghold, and it shows on an album bristling with the powerful, confusing emotions such a time must inevitably stir.