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The legacy of Billy Joe Shaver, told by the artists that matter.

Celebrating the life and songs of the outlaw, the saint and the sinner.

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Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver is an oral history of his life and songwriting, as told by his peers, friends, and disciples.

Billy Joe Shaver wrote nine of the ten songs included on Waylon Jennings’s landmark album Honky Tonk Heroes and played a dominant role in the origins and development of the outlaw country movement of the 1970s. With a catalog that includes “Ride Me Down Easy,” “I Been to Georgia On a Fast Train,” “Honky Tonk Heroes,” and “I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal,” Shaver has been named by Ray Wylie Hubbard, alongside Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, as a member of the “holy trinity” of Texas songwriters. He has exerted a Texas-sized influence on Texas music and especially Texas singer-songwriters, and is cited as a chief inspiration on generations of artists. But although his influence has been profound, Shaver has the dubious honor of becoming, according to author Courtney S. Lennon, “country music’s unsung hero.”

In Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver, Lennon seeks to give Shaver the recognition his prolific output deserves. She unfolds for readers the complexity and the simplicity of the artist who wrote the songs that Brian T. Atkinson calls in his foreword, “peaceful and pure, complex and convoluted, mad and merciful,” while Bobby Bare declares, "Billy Joe was the real deal, the Texas outlaw.”

Based on in-depth interviews conducted prior to Shaver’s passing in 2020, Live Forever offers a host of iconic artists, singer-songwriters, road-worn veteran to up-and-coming musicians who were all impacted by Shaver’s life and songwriting, weaving together a story that revels and celebrates the saint and the sinner, the earthly intellectual and the hard-living commoner, the poet and the cowboy.

Written by Courtney S. Lennon, Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver will be published as part of the Texas A&M University Press, John and Robin Dickson Series in Texas Music.

 
 

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Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver

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Cover photo by: Tony Demin
Original artwork by: Mandy Newham-Cobb

 

about

COURTNEY S. LENNON

 Courtney S. Lennon is the author of the book, Live Forever: The Songwriting Legacy of Billy Joe Shaver (Texas A&M University Press).

 

She is the founder and Editor of Turnstyled, Junkpiled Music Magazine, which she started in 2011. She has written features on Ryan Bingham, Guy Clark, Terry Allen, Rodney Crowell, Radney Foster, Dale Watson, Van Dyke Parks, and Wanda Jackson, among others.

 

She is currently working on her next book, True Love Will Find You In The End: The Life and Music of Daniel Johnston (Texas A&M University Press), a biography on late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston.


Find more on Courtney at courtneyslennon.com

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