Billy Joe Shaver doesn’t play outlaw country. He is outlaw country. His songs, covered by everyone from Johnny Cash to Bob Dylan, gave birth to the outlaw country sound and had a major impact on country music as a whole. Even in his personal life, Shaver seems to be pulled from a Highwaymen song, such as the time in 2007 when he shot a man who pulled a knife on him, asking, “Where do you want it?” before pulling the trigger and inspiring two country songs.
This year he turns 75, and after a life of hardships, deep personal loss and amazing music, he’s still going strong. We were lucky to talk to Billy Joe about his new album, Long In The Tooth, his autobiography and how songwriting can save your life.