Tour Warrior Billy Joe Shaver Hits Pause On SoCal Dates

Billy Joe Shaver

BILLY JOE SHAVER cancels Jul 22 at The Coach House photo: Jim McGuire

There is a grit and glory to country music that is epitomized by the songwriting of Billy Joe Shaver, one of the original country outlaws who’s penned lyrics for Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley and many more. Shaver’s biggest achievement was the writing of 10 songs on Waylon Jenning’s 1973 album, “Honky Tonk Heroes” which is said to have started the country outlaw music movement of the 70’s.

The 75-year-old tour warrior intended to bring his talents to southern California for a show at The Coach House on Jul. 22. But unfortunately, according to his publicist, “Billy Joe Shaver has been advised by his doctor to receive a hip replacement sooner than previously recommended.”

Concert Guide Live had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Shaver prior to the unforeseen cancellation, and would like to go ahead and share it with his fans.

“We just keep on going. We take some breaks sometimes, but not much,” Shaver said. “We’re in Ventura now, then heading to LAX to catch a plane back to Austin. I may even have time for a shower.”

Though never claiming household name status, musicians like Kris Kristofferson, The Allman Brothers Band and Bob Dylan greatly admire Shaver and have recorded his songs. Dylan even immortalized Shaver in his 2009 song “I Feel a Change Comin’ On,” singing, “I’m listening to Billy Joe Shaver and I’m reading James Joyce.”

Musicians are born with talent, but have to learn the ways of the music business. Long before writing songs for country’s biggest and best, Shaver was a man with a guitar and some songs, playing small venues and learning the ropes of the music industry while taking advice when he could get it.

“Early in my life, way before I got to Nashville, I was playing a place and I was having real trouble with the sound system,” he said. “Well, I was having a rough time with it and I was kind of letting everybody know about it. Not too much, but enough that this fella (I don’t know who he was), he just come over and he motioned for me. I took a little break, and he took me outside and he said, ‘Man, I want to give you some advice and you can take it or leave it,’ he said, ‘it’s up to you.’ Then he said, ‘Whenever you’re playing a show make sure that you don’t let anybody know that you’re having a bad time because people didn’t pay good money to see you have a bad time. You’re going to have to act a little.’ And I did, I had to act for a long time, as long as those crap mics were around. I took his advice and I’ve been that way ever since. It’s not phony, it’s just that you’re trying to make everybody happy and that’s a good thing.”

Shaver’s had to use that advice many times, working through life’s adversities while always being a touring musician. His life story reads like a country outlaw song; it has its fair share of sadness and trouble, but always a bit of optimism to keep the train moving forward.

Shaver was divorced twice and married three times to the same woman, Brenda Shaver. In 1999, Brenda succumbed to cancer and within a year of her passing Shaver’s son and guitar player, Eddy Shaver, died of a drug overdose. That night, Billy Joe still took the stage and played a show at the advice of his friend Willie Nelson, knowing the only way to get through the tragic events was to play on. In 2007, he was charged with shooting a man in the face outside of a bar near his home in Waco, Texas and was later acquitted by a jury, pleading self-defense. Shaver later wrote a song about the incident titled, “Wacko From Waco” that details the entire event.

Shaver’s most recent album, 2014’s “Long in the Tooth,” is his first in seven years. His songs present a man feeling the ups and downs of being a bit older and a bit wiser.

On “Long in the Tooth,” Shaver maintains his authentic songwriting style that can be found lacking in some modern country music. In the album’s song, “Hard to Be an Outlaw” which he sings with his longtime friend Willie Nelson, Shaver writes, “Some super stars nowadays get too far off the ground / Singing ‘bout the back roads they never have been down / They go and call it country but that ain’t the way it sounds / Makes a renegade like me want to terrorize the town.”

Shaver doesn’t think writing an authentic song is too hard. “The way I see it, there ain’t no rules, thank God,” he said. “The way I see it is, if I do about three chords and the truth, that’s good.”

As for the future of country music, Shaver is optimistic.

“Oh, it’s gonna turn over, about every twenty years or so it turns over,” Shaver said. “When I wrote that ‘Honky Tonk Heroes’ album that Waylon Jennings did, everything turned around and everybody started singing that way. It was really honest and rough. A lot of people didn’t like it. They didn’t think it would help, they thought it would hurt the country music business because they were into these cheating songs and sequins and things like that… It’ll turn over; I’m making a prediction that it will. I’m a prophet, but I don’t make no profit.”

Walter Trout To Thank Fans And Inspire Hope


WALTER TROUT returns with show at The Coach House Jul 10

After a near-death experience and year-long recovery, blues musician Walter Trout is heading to The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano on Jul. 10 for a sold-out show that will kick-off his national tour.

The blues man’s gut wrenching guitar style and authentic vocals took on new meaning after undergoing a liver transplant that saved his life. With renewed strength and purpose, he returns to his career of more than 50 years for a musically inspired “thank you” to his fans.

Trout’s 2014 album, “The Blues Came Callin'” reveals a man reflecting on his mortality. In his next album, planned for a fall 2015 release, Trout finds inspiration in his harrowing health experiences and renewal of life. Before taking off on his impressive 40-date tour, Trout took the time to speak with Concert Guide Live about life, music and priorities.

CONCERT GUIDE LIVE: It seems like from the moment you began your recovery you knew that an epic tour had to be underway. What continues to draw you with such excitement and determination to play and tour?
WALTER TROUT: It’s all I’ve ever done and it’s really what’s given me so much in my life. I mean, when I was a kid and I realized that I could play the guitar, it was the thing that gave me self-respect. When I figured out, “Hey, it’s really easy for me to play the guitar. I can do this,” it gave me a reason to be here. To not be able to play music at this late stage of life was pretty crushing in a way. So now to have it back (and to actually have it back, I think, better than ever) is incredibly joyous. I came through this. I’m back. I want to share this with people and I want to say to them, “Hey, there’s hope. There is hope in this world. It’s not just a forgotten concept. It actually is a tangible thing…hope.”

CGL: What made you decide to make The Coach House your first U.S. stop on this momentous tour?
WT: Years ago when I was having a hard time in America, I always did great in Orange County. I always had a group of people here at home that supported my music. It just seemed like it was the right thing to do to start off my first gig of this national tour playing for my hometown crowd. It seems a way of me saying to the locals here that have been behind me for so many years, “I love you and thank you.” I mean, the gig is sold out and I think I’m going to pretty much know everybody in that crowd by their first name.

CGL: When you were writing 2014’s, “The Blues Came Callin'”, you were nearly at your sickest, yet there is such veracity and intensity in the songs. In “Born in the City” you basically call to the band and tell them to keep up with this force and power that you have. How did you keep that intensity up while your body was beginning to fail you?
WT: That was a difficult record to make. Literally, within a week after I finished the last track I was hospitalized and remained in the hospital for over six months. So I was incredibly sick, I couldn’t walk, but I was determined to finish that thing. I figured it might be my last will and testament. I could only go into the studio and maybe play and sing for about an hour-and-a-half and then I had to quit, but for that hour-and-a-half I would really focus whatever strength I had left in my body. So when we were playing a song like “Born in the City” I knew that we were going to do it once or twice and then that was all I had. So I was screaming at the band like, “Let’s go guys!” you know, “Come on, give it everything you got because this is our one chance to get this right.”

CGL: How has the life-changing year you’ve experienced made you more concrete in your personhood?
WT: I have learned to focus in on what really is much more important. I couldn’t care less about the little things now. Much more than ever before, my wife and my children have an importance and a spot in my life that I can’t even explain. The music is right there, too. I feel now that I have a responsibility to the people that supported me when I was down and sent me well wishes, donations and prayers – the overwhelming support of the blues community. They kept me strong. My wife would come in everyday and read me the messages. I have a responsibility to those people to give back to them now and play the best I can, write the best I can and be up there in front of them saying, “Thank you, you were a part of this and I am here to try and play my very best for you.” My priorities have been set in stone.

Legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash Helps The Wayfarer Turn One On July 11


GRANDMASTER FLASH celebrates The Wayfarer’s First Anniversary Jul 11

Fresh off of tour dates in the UK, the legendary father of hip-hop and modern turntablism, DJ Grandmaster Flash, will hit The Wayfarer stage on Jul. 11. The show is a part of the venue’s One Year Anniversary Party series, co-promoted with Modern Disco Ambassadors.

The night will feature DJ Grandmaster Flash (Joseph Saddler) on his instrument of choice, the turntables, a musical tool that can thank Flash for its innovation and introduction into the mainstream music scene.

Flash’s career in music finds its origins at the neighborhood block parties of the South Bronx in the early 70’s. His experimentation with sound found its first listeners there, ready and waiting for the next step through musical evolution. Flash did not see vinyl as a one-dimensional vehicle for sound, instead he heard the possibility for intricacies and nuances that had yet to be drawn from audio equipment. Modern DJ’s can thank Flash for the introduction of the cue button, plus techniques like backspins, scratching, punch phrasing and the very foundation for everything a DJ can do today.

The introduction of MC’s to DJ Grandmaster Flash’s set-up in the late 70’s spurred a revolution in music. With the addition of the Furious Five, Flash’s ensemble produced the pioneering album, “The Message,” with its single by the same name, and Flash’s epic “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel,” which introduced a new type of DJing to the mainstream.

Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five garnered much critical acclaim for their introspective lyrics. Songs like “The Message”, which earned the group platinum status, and 1984’s “White Lines” were the first to use hip-hop as a medium for social commentary, expressing the gritty realities of life in South Bronx.

DJ Grandmaster Flash went on to produce several solo albums including 1985’s “They Said It Couldn’t Be Done”, 1986’s “The Source” and 1987’s “Da Bop Boom Bang”. Flash also worked for five years as the music director for the HBO series, “The Chris Rock Show”.

In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by Jay-Z, marking the first time a hip-hop or rap artist earned the honor. “What Les Paul and Chuck Berry did for the electric guitar, Flash did for the turntable,” Jay-Z said about the forefather of modern DJing. Flash has also been the recipient of many other awards including The Icon Award from BET for his contribution to hip-hop, The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Industry Association of America, the Bill Gates’ Vanguard Award and VH1 Hip-Hop Honors.

Catch DJ Grandmaster Flash at the Wayfarer on Jul. 11 for the venue’s One Year Anniversary Party. Other bands to play The Wayfarer’s One Year Anniversary Series leading up to Saturday’s epic Grandmaster Flash show include FMLYBND on Jul. 9 and Matthew Dear (DJ Set) on Jul. 10.