Billy Joe Shaver briefly hospitalized, now 'doing great'

6:34 p.m Wednesday, April 19, 2017 Austin360 Home
Suzanne Cordeiro/Suzanne Cordeiro for AMERICAN-ST
03/17/17 Suzanne Cordeiro/ for American-Statesman Willie Nelson and Billy Joe Shaver perform at the Luck Reunion on March 16, 2017 in Spicewood, Texas.

Legendary country songwriter Billy Joe Shaver missed a Central Texas gig last Friday after health issues landed him in the hospital. The 77-year-old performer was forced to reschedule a show at Riley’s Tavern near New Braunfels. 

But the honky-tonk hero is a hard man to hold down for long. 

"Billy Joe is out of the hospital and feeling better,” his publicist Cary Baker said. “Thanks to everyone for their prayers."

Bandmate and tour manager Jeremy Lynn Woodall was just as optimistic. “Billy Joe is doing great,” he said. “We can’t wait to get back out there.”

Shaver, who also was forced to reschedule a Saturday show at Love & War in Lindale, is a contemporary of Waylon Jennings — who recorded an album almost full of Shaver’s songs in 1973 — and Willie Nelson — who testified at Shaver’s trial after he shot a man in the face in a bar outside Waco in 2007.

That album, “Honky-Tonk Heroes,” established Shaver as a masterful songwriter whose songs were recorded by a who’s who of popular artists. And that trial ended up with Shaver being found not guilty. In between he lived the outlaw triumphs and tragedies of his songs, hitting bottom with the tragic death of his son, Eddy, on New Years Eve 2000.

Shaver has struggled with heart problems of the medical sort, as well. He had a heart attack onstage at Gruene Hall in 2001 that nearly killed him. He was hospitalized several weeks last year with a “serious medical condition.” 

Shaver’s next Central Texas tour dates are a June 9 performance at the Republic of Texas Biker Rally and Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July Picnic at the Circuit of the Americas.

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