In his new LP Long in the Tooth, Billy Joe Shaver’s new songs prowl and punch with welterweight fury.
Shaver’s first studio album in six years showcases a singular songwriter in peak form as he unearths his trademark truths around every corner (“Last Call for Alcohol,” “The Git Go”).
“This is the best album I’ve ever done,” he says. “It’s just dangerously good. I expect it to change things and turn things around the way Honky Tonk Heroes did.”
Long in the Tooth, set for August 5, 2014 release on Lightning Rod Records through Thirty Tigers, charts his journey as an unrepentant outlaw. Accordingly, Shaver delivers the classic country fans expect but also brings all new sonic tricks this time around.
“Each song is different with different beats and different kinds of music,” he says. “I even have one rap song. The titles are all so catchy like ‘It’s Hard to Be an Outlaw’ and ‘The Git Go.’ Those are pretty hard to beat.”
He continues, “Songwriting is gut wrenching, but if you dig down and write real honest you’ll find something real great. I believe everybody should write. It’s the cheapest psychiatrist there is and, God knows, I still need one.”
Listen to Shaver’s duet with Willie Nelson, “Hard To Be An Outlaw”:
“The record’s about me,” says Shaver, who turns 75 years old in August. “I’ve written a lot of great songs and I’m still writing great songs, but I felt neglected. I have been, actually. The reluctance to play old people’s music is as bad as it was to play young people’s music. I think it should level out where everyone can hear good art, but it seems like radio doesn’t play older people’s music. Man, it’s like throwing out the Mona Lisa. I don’t understand, but I’m just so proud of Long in the Tooth. This record will be a gigantic step.”
Keep up with Billy Joe Shaver here.