(Update, Nov. 17: Performers at the Billy Joe Shaver tribute event will include Shakey Graves, Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, Nikki Lane, Ray Benson, Dale Watson and Monte Warden. Also, the last show in the "Long Live Music" series will be on Dec. 3 with Alabama band St. Paul & the Broken Bones.)
Billy Joe Shaver wasn’t kidding around when he sang, "I’m gonna live forever." The legendary Texas songwriter, who died last month at age 81, suddenly seems to be everywhere.
For starters, he’ll be honored with a tribute show on Nov. 22 that was just announced by the Long Center and Luck Reunion, who recently teamed up for a series of limited-attendance outdoor shows on the Long Center Lawn. Tickets to "The Songs I Left Behind: A Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver" are now on sale via the Long Center website.
Performers have not yet been announced, but show will featured a backing band led and assembled by Austin guitar great Charlie Sexton. Tickets are sold in socially-distanced square plots on the lawn that accommodate up to four guests; a square costs $200, or $350 for a premium square. (It’s not clear from the Long Center website exactly what the premium designation entails.)
This is the third concert in the "Long Live Music" series, following sold-out shows with Hayes Carll and John Moreland on Nov. 8 and Tank & the Bangas and Big Freedia on Nov. 12. One more will follow in early December, with artists to be announced.
Meanwhile, the exclusion of Shaver from any sort of tribute presentation at Wednesday night’s Country Music Association Awards on ABC prompted a swift response from country-folk-rock couple Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, who also voiced disappoinment at the lack of attention to recently departed greats Jerry Jeff Walker and John Prine.
"Due to (the CMA’s) failure to mention John Prine, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy Joe Shaver at the CMA’s last night, Amanda Shires and I have decided to return our membership cards." Isbell posted to Twitter on Thursday. "I doubt anybody will care, but we cared a lot about our heroes." The post received more than 47,000 likes.
Shaver played a pivotal role in the couple’s history. After Shaver died on Oct. 28 following a massive stroke, Shires wrote the following on Twitter: "Facts- 1. I was a side player for the first half of my musical life. Billy Joe convinced me that I was a real songwriter (based on two songs) and I should move to Nashville. 2. I was working for Billy Joe the first time Jason saw me play."
Finally, earlier Friday we premiered a new Tex-Mex version of Shaver’s classic song "Live Forever" by Austin band David Beck’s Tejano Weekend. Check it out here.