Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Real Deal

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Real Deal

Article excerpt

THE REAL DEAL Billy Joe Shaver (Compadre, 2005)

After 40 years in and around country music, The Real Deal by Texas singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver is either the capstone of a checkered career--or the beginning of an improbable third act.

The first of Shaver's two previous brushes with fame came in the early 1970s when country music outlaw Waylon Jennings recorded Honky Tonk Hero, an entire album of Shaver songs. But all the money went up in drugs and alcohol, and Shaver almost did, too.

During Shaver's second act, he led a band that featured his son Eddie on lead guitar and appeared in the 1997 film The Apostle. This era came to a crashing halt when, within a year, Shaver's son died of a drug overdose and his wife of 40 years died of cancer. These tragedies inform several songs on The Real Deal.

The full range of Shaver's art is displayed on this newest album with sparse guitar, bass, and drums that place the songs, and Shaver's evocative croak of a voice, front and center. …

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