Written by Michael Pittman
Sep 27, 2014 at 08:00 PM
ImageBy now Billy Joe Shaver is a household name among country music lovers. To look him in the eye is to know you’ve got a friend that’ll believe in you come what may. In that face is etched the truth only time can enstill. He’s Texas all the way, even descended from one of the states’ founding fathers. At 75, he’s living history.

Having just released what Billy Joe says is his ‘best record yet’ called Long in the Tooth, he’s watching it rise on the country charts for the first time, lately hitting number 19. It was at The Redneck Country Club in Stafford where I caught up with the tour.

This was my first time out to the RCC and to my knowledge the first time HMR has been there, so I paid special attention. My takeaway was that this is one well-run nice looking place. The down-home feel and the polite, energetic management and staff made the evening well worth the hour and a half I spent on the road getting there from Montgomery. By the way, try the pulled pork…awesome!

I’ll cut to the chase..I’ve seen Billy Joe a few times but I’ve never seen him look and sound better. Long in the Tooth (his 23rd record) seems to have reignited his music and performance. Engaging the audience with story after story and extending his set well beyond the original 75 minutes, he was truly having a great time. It was infectious and the packed house was totally into the show. RCC’s ample dance floor was packed almost all night.

Billy Joe always packs a great band. Touring with him is Jason McKenzie on drums/percussion,  Jeremy Woodall on guitar and vocals, and last but not least Houston’s own Nick Gaitan on upright bass. Glad to see Nick back in the lineup!

The first third or so of the show was dedicated to old favorites including the one everyone says they hate ‘That’s What She Said Last Night’. Songs like ‘Live Forever’, ‘Hottest Thing in Town’ and ‘You Can’t Beat Jesus Christ’ satisfied the long time fans.

ImageThe rest of the show was dedicated to the new record with Billy even slinging his Fender guitar over his shoulder for a tune. The band was tight with the sound and energy just getting better and better as the night wore on. I saw several cowboys singing along with ‘The Git Go’. Won’t see that at a Mylie Cyrus show!

The 30 minute encore included a massive drum solo featuring John McKenzie, a heartfelt word or two about never giving up and ending with his trademark air-fist pounding stinger ending.

The entire evening was totally memorable with Shaver putting on the show of his life and RCC making everyone (including this writer) feel more than home. We’ll be back!