Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver

The Real Deal

Compadre Records

Billy Joe Shaver is one of country’s original outlaws and he is still as feisty as ever on his latest release, The Real Deal. After 18 albums –including three live ones and a tribute– Shaver is still proving that he is one of country’s greatest ever.

The disc opens with a fantastic collaboration with Big & Rich called “Live Forever.” It perfectly combines Shaver’s earthy vocals with Big & Rich’s more polished sound. Although it doesn’t really go with the rest of the album (which is straight-up old-school country), it is nonetheless a great tune.

“Slim Chance and the Can’t Hardly Playboys” is a classic example of Shaver’s wit and uncanny use of the American language. He also gives an understated shout-out to what “Slim” knows best: places where “the cars are on blocks and the houses are on wheels.” Shaver also does an interesting take on breaking up a relationship on “I Changed My Mind.” He gets right to the point telling his former lover to “Let me go/ Turn me loose/ I changed my mind.” That sounds like the runaway bride’s anthem.

The Real Deal is a must-have for any fan of old-school country music and further solidifies Billy Joe Shaver as a country legend, in the same league as Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and all the other outlaws in country music.

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