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Billy Joe Shaver Talks Outlaws & Legends Music Fest, Songwriting + More – Exclusive Interview

Billy Joe Shaver
Frederick Breedon IV/Getty Images

Billy Joe Shaver is one of the original outlaw country singer-songwriters. He’s a songwriting legend who has had his songs covered hundreds – if not thousands – of times, including the Allman Brothers, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and countless others. And as one of the most colorful characters in music, Shaver also makes for a pretty interesting interview.

Billy Joe will be in Abilene for the Outlaws & Legends Music Fest on Friday evening, March 28th. He joined the KEAN Afternoon Show to talk about his long overdue return to Abilene. We kicked off the conversation with the man known as ‘The Original Honky Tonk Hero’ answering his phone with an odd, unidentifiable sound. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out why, but Shaver explained, “Abilene’s out there, I figured ‘what the hell’, they’re crazy out there anyway. I’ll just go say something crazy.’ [laughs]“. He softened the insult by piling on a couple of other West Texas cities. “I tell you where I hate to go is Amarillo, oh. And Lubbock. Lubbock…they got a bunch of good people in Lubbock. But they’re all dead!“. I asked Billy Joe if he keeps track of any of the current Texas country music, and he told me no. “Well you know, I don’t listen much, cause I’m always writing, you know. And I don’t really want to get influenced by anybody else’s stuff. And I certainly don’t wanna lift nothing off anybody.“. Fair enough. Take a listen to part one of our visit with Billy Joe Shaver:

Billy Joe Shaver Interview – Part 1

The second half of out interview with Billy Joe Shaver had me asking if he ever thought that more than 4 decades later, so many of his songs would still be fresh and relevant. He tells us, “You’re putting me up on a pedestal, man. No, when I wrote them, I intended for them to last forever. And hopefully they do…there’s one or two [songs] that I’ve dated a bit, but otherwise I don’t date them so they stay good. Write good, they’ll stay good.” I asked if Billy Joe had a favorite song, and he replied, “No, they’re just like kids, everybody says that, but they’re like kids, and you love the buck-toothed just as much as you do the others. So, I don’t know. I can’t pick a favorite…there’s a bunch of [new songs] waiting in the wings that are just as good as these. But I hadn’t recorded them yet, and nobody else has either.”. Here’s the second half of our conversation with Billy Joe Shaver:

Billy Joe Shaver Interview – Part 2

The 4th annual Outlaws & Legends Music Fest to benefit Ben Richey Boys Ranch is March 28-30 at the Back Porch of Texas. Billy Joe Shaver takes the stage at 6:30pm on Friday the 28th, and the Original Honky Tonk Hero still puts on a powerful show.

Here’s a great segment that the Texas Music Scene TV show did on Billy Joe Shaver, featuring Kevin Fowler, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Seth James and other Texas singer-songwriters.

Texas Music Scene – Spotlight on Billy Joe Shaver

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