This is one hell of a disc and considering that this is Billy Joe Shaver's most overtly religious disc that is some kind of statement. Billy Joe Shaver is, as he tells it, a born again Christian who loves Jesus Christ; and at the same time he has led a life that would have had most of long buried in the soil. He was a drinker, a fighter, a drug abuser, a lover who somehow convinced the same woman to marry him three times (and she is a bright thoughtful woman by all accounts). He is one of those individuals who has that charm and charisma that could sell sunshine and sand to the residents of the Sahara desert. In some ways none of this matters unless you are offended by proclamations of a persons faith in broad bold strokes, and he is the first to say it is right for him but might not be for everyone. The list of friends that has joined him on this disc is so long and extensive and includes some of his friends from his partying days like Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash (the amazing things they can do nowadays), to Nashville stalwarts like Randy Scruggs, Marty Stuart and Tanya Tucker, and they are not along for a ride but carry their share of the load.
Fourteen of the songs are written by Billy Joe and one John R. Cash wrote the remaining one. Many of the songs are about life and the situations we are faced with that test us, in some there is overt reference to Jesus Christ and in others it is approached more circumspectly. They are crafted with the excellence we have come to expect from this master storyteller, some of them have appeared on other discs in different form it is just here they are all gathered together and maybe modified to reflect more overtly the praise of Jesus Christ. The music is as strong of ever and he has put together a very tight band with people like Randy Scruggs on acoustic guitar, and Tony Harrell on keyboards; not to mention the guest artists such as Kenny Malone and Bill Miller to name two more who contribute. He is a man who knows his way is his way and may not be for everyone, however that is one of the choices you make. He takes responsibility for all of his decisions, even the ones that led down paths that he now avoids. There is some powerful feeling on this disc and it comes shining through.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2007, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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