WACO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Corsicana-born Billy Joe Shaver, the seminal outlaw country songwriter of “Honky Tonk Heroes,” has died at 81.
Shaver wrote songs for Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Bobby Bare.
He was among the original group of outlaws and maverick country singers in the ‘70s, writing and singing songs like “I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train” and “Old Five and Dimers Like Me.”
Shaver’s lyrics reflected his hardscrabble upbringing in Texas, and he helped popularize the outlaw country genre with songs like “Willie the Wandering Gypsy and Me” about Nelson.
He released many of his own albums in the last four decades, including several with his guitarist son, Eddy Shaver, who died tragically on New Year’s Eve in 2000.
The singer’s last tweet was posted on April 24, 2019 and is a video for the song “Live Forever.”
Live Forever. https://t.co/Omo5OJSth5
— Billy Joe Shaver (@BillyJoe_Shaver) April 24, 2019
Social media saw tributes from local honky-tonk Billy Bob’s Texas and various local musicians when word of Shaver’s passing was announced.
This morning we got the news that our friend, Billy Joe Shaver, has passed away at the age of 81. When we think of Billy Joe Shaver, we cant help but smile, laugh, and reminisce on almost 40 years of friendship. pic.twitter.com/aIGEiBP3lW
— Billy Bob's Texas (@BillyBobsTexas) October 28, 2020
Texas native Dan Rather also expressed sadness upon learning Shaver was dead.
Another great Texas music icon is gone. Billy Joe Shaver was a bona fide, certified, Lone Star original – a throwback to a far different time. This was echoed in the music he wrote and performed over a long and very adventurous life. https://t.co/boaCjRLl3w
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) October 28, 2020