For those of you who don't know, Billy Joe Shaver is one of the greatest songwriters ever to walk this earth. Shaver is the band comprised by him and his son Eddy Shaver. Unfortunately by the time this album was released Eddy had moved on to his place in Heaven.
This album is a great view into the heartache and tragedy Billy Joe has endured over the past two years. Within this time he has lost his mother, wife, and now son. The pain of these losses are felt in this album. It's a great direct relation between life and art. Billy Joe was never much for trying to paint an illusion, all his stories were straight ahead and real.
The album opens with a "Love Is So Sweet." This is his way of telling the newer generation to remember what is real and not be so worried. From the opening line "I've been around this world a long time Mister, I've got a thing or two to say." You get the idea that you're in for some advice from a person who has seen it all. As he states in the song "I've been a drifter and a low life loser, you could learn a lot from me." This song basically sums up the album, it's time for the older man to tell everyone what he's learned and how to be better from it.
"Blood Is Thicker Than Water" is a great duet between Billy Joe and Eddy. It's a very personal song about the pair's struggle as son and father over the years. It's a view into their disagreements, but in the end they stay united by the common bond of their bloodline. It's a touching song, even moreso in the wake of Eddy's passing.
"Star In My Heart" is as touching as a song can be. It's a wonderful, touching song. It's a great song of friendship and togetherness throughout life. You can't help but dredge up memories, or feel the pain of missing someone close by hearing this song.
"Leaving Amarillo" is a hilarious track about how Billy Joe has never gotten a check that didn't bounce or a time that was worth remembering when passing through Amarillo, Texas. It's even got a great tirade at the end of the song where he talks about how Amarillo is no good, and Lubbock is worse. As he said "There's a lot of good people in Lubbock, but they're all dead."
The album ends with "The Earth Rolls On." If this isn't a lesson being taught, I don't know what is. It's the closing argument to a great lesson to be learned. It's the reminder that no matter what happens to us, the earth doesn't stop and neither does life. This is the idea Billy Joe gets across through this album, you can't stop living because of hardship, you have to persevere and live on.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.