Billy Joe Shaver and Kinky Friedman Live Album Coming in October

by Clayton Edwards
billy-joe-shaver-kinky-friedman-live-album-coming-october

Billy Joe Shaver isn’t just a Texas legend. He was one of the greatest songwriters the world has ever seen. At least, that’s what Willie Nelson and legions of devotees around the world believe. He was the man behind Waylon Jennings’ Honky Tonk Heroes album. So, Billy Joe was at the heart of the Outlaw Country movement in its earliest days. Tragically, Shaver passed away last October after suffering a stroke.

Kinky Friedman is another legend of the Lone Star State. He is a singer, songwriter, novelist, satirist, and once ran for governor of Texas. When he ran for office, Billy Joe Shaver acted as his political advisor. However, they worked together on the road years before Friedman tried to get his political career off the ground.

Billy Joe Shaver and Kinky Friedman embarked on an Australian tour in 2002. This October, Omnivore Records is releasing Live Down Under. The album includes highlights from three nights of their time spent in the Land Down Under. The album will be available on October 16th, just 12 days away from the anniversary of Billy Joe’s death.

 The live album sees Kinky Friedman and Billy Joe Shaver sharing the stage. The description on Omnivore’s website says, “the spotlight passed back and forth between the duo.” You can see the back-and-forth in the album’s tracklist. Shaver and Friedman trade songs as if they were sitting at the kitchen table jamming. However, Live Down Under starts like every night of their co-headlining tour started – with a coin toss. On the upcoming album, Shaver wins the toss and opens with “Georgia on a Fast Train.”

The Tour That Kept Billy Joe Shaver Alive

In 2001, Billy Joe Shaver was in a dark place. He had lost his mother, wife, and son. Friedman couldn’t stand to see his old pal sitting around the house in the dark. So, he talked him into doing the Two for Texas Tour. During that string of shows, Shaver had a heart attack at the legendary Gruene Hall.

After that, doctors performed an angioplasty on Shaver. However, they wanted him to have a quadruple bypass. Shaver, though, feared the risks of the surgery and refused to have it. Instead of following the doctors’ advice, Billy Joe looked to another Texas legend for guidance. Willie Nelson told him the best thing he could do was stay active.

About the decision, Friedman said, “Billy Joe was in a dark place; the recent family tragedies, the health concerns. Staying home with the curtains drawn and all its temptations seemed as risky as going. Willie and I both agreed, the best therapy he could have was to get out and have a good time.”

Billy Joe Shaver lived another 18 years after that tour ended. So, they must have done something right.

Outsider.com