Sign up for our free newsletter
Free D.C. news, delivered to your inbox daily.
Decades of watching other honky-tonk heroes (Willie, Johnny, Elvis, etc.) grab all the glory while singing his tunes onstage really must’ve gotten to native Texan Billy Joe Shaver. The commercial success of the now-Nashville-based tunesmith’s 1993 release, Tramp on Your Street meant Shaver would finally have the chance to hit the road as a bandleader and, judging from his latest CD, the belated promotion left him absolutely giddy. Unshaven: Live at Smith’s Olde Bar, culled from (the band) Shaver’s three-night stand in Atlanta during its first tour, is proof positive that few earthly forces pack the wallop of a Texas bar band in action. The entire ensemble is stellar, but son Eddy Shaver’s quick-picking fills and longtime Nelson Family man Mickey Raphael’s harmonica blowing stand out. It doesn’t hurt a bit that Shaver takes his set list from a back catalog that includes ageless good-timers like “Old Chunk of Coal” and “The Hottest Thing in Town.”