Sound Advice 

The Flyer's music writers tell you where you can go.

In 1973, Kris Kristofferson, a country-western wordsmith of the highest magnitude, produced Billy Joe Shaver's first album, Old Five and Dimers Like Me. If that wasn't endorsement enough, Tom T. Hall penned the record's liner notes. Legend has it that Shaver left his wife and kid (not to mention a few fingers) in Texas and drove his motorcycle (literally) into the door of Nashville's greatest songwriter, Harlan Howard ("I Fall to Pieces," "Heartaches by the Number," etc.). When Howard came outside to see what all the noise was about, Shaver introduced himself, saying, "I'm the greatest country songwriter in the world."

Billy Joe Shaver

Howard, impressed by Shaver's audacity, sent the brawling Texan to Bobby Bare who hired him to write songs for $50 a week with the proviso that no lawyers ever become involved in the deal. Maybe that's why Michael Jackson now owns so much of Shaver's back catalog. Maybe that's why Shaver, who wrote all but one of the songs on Waylon Jennings' album Honky Tonk Heroes, seems perpetually penniless. Maybe that "no lawyers" proviso is why Shaver still tours relentlessly across the United States, playing for a piece of the door. Shaver has lived a hard life, and his songs reflect it. In the last few years, he has lost his mother and his wife to cancer. His son and longtime collaborator died of a heroin overdose. But Shaver keeps going, with no signs of slowing down. Maybe when he wrote the John Anderson hit "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Going to be a Diamond Someday)," he believed every word. Don't miss the chance to see this drawling poet in action when he plays the Hi-Tone CafÇ on Thursday, February 5th.

--Chris Davis

Susan Marshall

Billy Joe Shaver is surely the week's must-see show, but fans of local roots music can't do much better this week than a special concert by "Susan Marshall & Friends" Friday, February 6th, at the Poplar Pike Playhouse at 7653 Old Poplar Pike in Germantown. A fund-raiser for the Germantown High School Fine Arts Department, the concert will feature Marshall --whose most recent album, Susan Marshall Is Honey Mouth, certainly qualifies as truth in advertising -- along with a gaggle of guests, including singer-songwriter Keith Sykes, singer Reba Russell, and acoustic blues player (and Commercial Appeal music writer) William Lee Ellis. Also on the bill are the folk-rock duo The Central Standards, who have ties to Germantown High. Tickets are $10 and showtime is 7:30 p.m. For more info, call 755-7775.

-- Chris Herrington

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
    • Turn Up the Volume

      Music Export Memphis aims to expose the city’s musicians to the world.
    • Tramp-Rock Troubador

      Keith Sykes shares stories, singles, and screenplay news in advance of his September show.

Blogs

Tiger Blue

Tigers 44, Southern Illinois 31

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies trade Troy Daniels to Phoenix

Music Blog

Listen Up: Louise Page

News Blog

Suit Targets 'Destructive' Drivers License Policy

Film/TV/Etc. Blog

mother!

News Blog

Supreme Court Steps In on Fayette Church Matter

Intermission Impossible

Muhammad Ali Meets Stepin Fetchit at The Hattiloo Theatre

ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

  • Snowglobe Returns

    Brad Postlethwaite on his band’s first show in four years.
    • Jul 28, 2016
  • Gonerfest 13

    Gearing up for the international garage-rock get-together.
    • Sep 29, 2016
  • Down By The River

    The African Jazz Ensemble play the Harbor Town Amphitheater this Sunday afternoon
    • Oct 20, 2016
ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation