Billy Joe Shaver died. He was not only one of my favorite singer/songwriters, but a mans man that seemed to have lots of challenges in life but just kept on living a simple life and writing and singing songs about life. I never saw a picture of him without a well worn cowboy hat, wrangler denim shirt, boots and the same belt and buckle. I read the book “Honky Tonk Hero” and learned a lot about his life. He shot a guy outside a bar in Waco, was a pro bronc rider, was the start of the outlaw movement in country music, and was a believer in God.
He wrote the song “ If you don’t love Jesus, go to hell”. I doubt they would play it at the church at Agape Boarding school, but they might at the Hubbard cowboy church. One of my favorite movies is a spaghetti western named “Trinity “ and there is a line in it that says “the ways of the lord are many”.
Several years ago I was in Fort Worth and did a demo at the Texas and Southwest Cattlemen’s convention. I for some reason felt the need to get out of the big city. I headed south on 35 and got of on the first main road I new headed west. I think it was “67” (there was a western store at the exit) headed to Glen Rose. I had the radio on and it had an ad for the “Brazos River Music Fest” and I thought that would be a good place to go.
I find the spot and it’s in a park on the river. I walk around and find me a spot in the shade and buddy up with a real nice Mexican family and some of their friends. I was really enjoying the music and seeing people really enjoying the Texas music. The headliner was supposed to be Darrell Dodd. For some reason he didn’t show. They said they had a surprise fill in. If my memory serves me correctly everyone was guessing who it might be. Well, they made a big deal about the secret introduction and out steps Billy Joe Shaver.
He stepped up and sang and played his heart out. It was incredible how he took ahold of a audience that was disappointed and turned it into a crowd that was very into his performance.
Then he spoke about his son Eddy who had died not to long before. After his emotional talk about overcoming challenges and going on with life he sang the song “I’m going to live Forever “ and I have never been so moved by a song being sung. He stood there singing his guts out looking at the sky and flapping his arms like wings like he was flying away. I can’t explain what it was like. He had everyone in the place in awe.
I have been a fan of a man that was not perfect but lived what he lived and seemed to enjoy the simple things in life. He’s gonna live forever in songs!