Billy Joe Shaver
111 East 6th Street
Newport, KY, 41071
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Watch & Listen
Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver has never been a household name, but his songs became country standards during the '70s and his reputation among musicians and critics hasn't diminished during the ensuing decades.
One of the best synopses of Shaver's upbringing is his own song, "I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train." When he sings, "my grandma's old-age pension is the reason that I'm standing here today," he ain't kidding. The "good Christian raising" and "eighth grade education" -- not to mention being abandoned by his parents shortly after being born, working on his uncles' farms instead of going to high school, and losing part of his fingers during a job at a sawmill -- are all part of his life story. "I got all my country learning," he sings, "picking cotton, raising hell, and bailing hay."
After several trips between Texas and Tennessee, he appeared one day in 1968 in Bobby Bare's Nashville office, where he convinced Bare to listen to him play. Bare ended up giving him a writing job and soon his songs began to see the light thanks to Kris Kristofferson ("Good Christian Soldier"), Tom T. Hall ("Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me"), Bare ("Ride Me Down Easy"), and later, the Allman Brothers ("Sweet Mama") and Elvis Presley ("You Asked Me To"). Shaver's real breakthrough, though, came in 1973 when Waylon Jennings recorded an album composed almost entirely of Shaver's songs, Honky Tonk Heroes -- largely considered the first true "outlaw" album.
Shaver's own debut album, Old Five and Dimers Like Me, was produced by Kristofferson in 1973. Along with the title track, it contained now-classic Shaver songs "Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me" and the aforementioned "Georgia on a Fast Train." In 1978 Johnny Cash recorded "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Some Day)," a song Shaver wrote just after he chose to give up drugs and booze and turned to God for help.
All Music Guide lists 23 albums, from 1973’s Old Five & Dimers Like Me through 2007’s Everybody’s Brother. Among his many classic songs are “I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal (But I'm Gonna Be a Diamond Some Day),” “Honky Tonk Heroes,” “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Live Forever,” “Tramp on Your Street,” and “Try and Try Again.”
In 1999, Shaver was invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry. In 2005, Billy Joe Shaver performed on CMT Outlaws. In 2006, he was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. He recently served as spiritual advisor to Texas independent gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman and his 2007 album “Everybody’s Brother” was nominated for a GRAMMY. For his efforts, the Americana Music Association awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting.
Shaver is truly one of the most respected living figures in American music. Bob Dylan, who rarely covers other writers, has often played Billy Joe‘s “Old Five And Dimers Like Me” in concert. Johnny Cash called him “my favorite songwriter.” The Washington Post noted, “when the country outlaws were collecting their holy writings, Billy Joe Shaver was carving out Exodus.”
The Honeycutters are an original country roots band from Asheville, North Carolina. Since 2007, when the group formed, they have been playing music that is consistently as catchy as it is heartfelt. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 they were voted WNC’s favorite Americana band in the Mountain Xpress reader’s poll. Organically grown around the songs of lead singer Amanda Anne Platt, the band has gained an audience that has stretched far beyond their mountain home to include all corners of the United States.
Their most recent release, When Bitter Met Sweet (2012), hit #23 on the Americana Chart, and landed at #94 for the year. It was also one of the top ten best selling albums at MerleFest that same year. The record came in at #4 in WNCW’s listener voted top 100, and #2 in the regional favorites (right behind The Avett Brothers).
The Honeycutters’ first full length studio release Irene (May ’09) was recorded at Asheville’s own CollapseAble Studio, and mixed by Grammy Award winning sound engineer David Fergason (Nashville TN) . The album has garnered radio support across the USA as well as overseas, and landed them in Iaan Hughes’ (No Depression Podcast) top twenty of 2009, as well as in Fret Knot Radio Hour’s “Nine to Know from ’09,” and as number 32 in WNCW’s listener voted top 100.
Amanda Anne Platt has been hailed as “one of the best songwriters coming out of WNC these days” by WNCW programming director Martin Anderson, and her voice has been described as “perfectly unadorned” and “recklessly beautiful”. Her song, “Little Bird,” won second place in the general category of the MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting contest in 2011 as well as taking home the grand prize in the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest that same year. Dane Smith of Asheville NC’s Mountain Xpress writes “Her songs make you sad…in a good way!” In both her simple composition and honest delivery it’s easy to hear the influence of country legends such as Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, or Loretta Lynn, and with this Miss Platt credits growing up listening to her father’s extensive record collection every Saturday morning. Despite her love for classic country, she cites Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty as major influences and her songwriting carries a wit and an edge that plants her firmly in her generation.
The band is frequently mentioned along with the movement to “take country music back to its roots”. The Honeycutters are just doing what they know how to do: making music that feels as good to hear as it does to play. Their original brand of Americana has proven equally appealing to both the musician and the music lover, the country and the city, and the old and the young.
Tal Taylor on mandolin, Rick Cooper on bass, and Josh Milligan on drums round out Platt’s songs and create a sound that carries just as well across the bar room as in a church or theater.
Since the release of their first studio album, The Honeycutters have shared the stage with such Americana greats as Guy Clark, Tony Rice, The Seldom Scene, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Donna The Buffalo, Jill Andrews, and The Steep Canyon Rangers. After a successful 2013 Kickstarter campaign, The Honeycutters are currently working on their third studio album to be released in 2014.
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