Search - Billy Joe Shaver :: Freedom's Child

Freedom's Child
Billy Joe Shaver
Freedom's Child
Genres: Country, Pop
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

Only Billy Joe Shaver could inject salacity into a line like "I went down to Kinko's / To get some faxing done." It's a renaissance that began when his Tramp on Your Street album heralded a dramatic, triumphant return of a...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Billy Joe Shaver
Title: Freedom's Child
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Compadre Records
Release Date: 11/19/2002
Genres: Country, Pop
Styles: Americana, Outlaw Country
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 616892515029

Only Billy Joe Shaver could inject salacity into a line like "I went down to Kinko's / To get some faxing done." It's a renaissance that began when his Tramp on Your Street album heralded a dramatic, triumphant return of a long-overlooked pillar of the Outlaw movement. On it, Shaver's creative grit, enhanced by son Eddy's roaring lead guitar, resurged with a vengeance. That consistency held through every subsequent album despite multiple tragedies in recent years: the successive deaths of his mother, wife, and Eddy, and Shaver's own onstage heart attack. Here, accompanied by a first-rate studio band, he rocks with Todd Snider on "Déjà Blues" and waxes patriotic ("Freedom's Child" and a swinging remake of "Good Ol' U.S.A."). "Day by Day" showcases his knowing, evocative storytelling, which carries over to his Johnny Cash homage "That's Why the Man in Black Sings the Blues." As always, each performance has the feel of an ancient field recording or Walker Evans photograph, one more reason Shaver remains a national treasure. --Rich Kienzle

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CD Reviews

Billy Joe Shaver is still standing
Christopher Zayne Reeves | Columbus, OH | 12/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Thirty years have passed since Waylon Jennings recorded Honky Tonk Heroes and made Billy Joe Shaver a highly respected songwriter and cult artist, if not the major star he deserves to be. In some ways having almost singlehandedly authored the artistic high point of 70's "Outlaw" country music has been a double-edged sword in regards to the brilliant music Billy Joe Shaver has given us since those heady days. Especially his work over the past decade with his late son Eddy and this, his return to recording as a solo artist. Whatever marquee value Shaver has is largely due to the Jennings album, but that is only a single highlight in the man's remarkable legacy.The sound of Freedom's Child is a blend of The Earth Rolls On with its searing blues-rock and Victory, which was as stripped to the bone as humanly possible. Both of those magnificent records were eulogies to loved ones who have left Billy Joe Shaver's life. With this release we find the man after much reflecting on the horrific losses he has suffered. Eddy's musical vision is strongly present as the production of this album deftly flows and dips into swing, rock, country and folk without ever getting in Billy Joe's way. Freedom's Child also showcases the best singing that Billy Joe Shaver has ever committed to record. On his earlier releases, before forming Shaver with Eddy, Billy Joe often did not seem at ease with the process of recording vocals. Now he has matured into an astonishingly expressive singer. His range is limited but he inhabits every word with authority and charisma. As a songwriter, Billy Joe Shaver is a force of nature. He is the best songwriter to come out of Texas and I will stand on Steve Earle's stack of Townes Van Zandt records in my pink bunny slippers and say that. Songs such as Day By Day, Wild Cow Gravy, Hold On To Yours (And I'll Hold On To Mine), Honey Chile, That's What She Said Last Night (cowritten with Eddy) and We are filled with charm, wit, humanity and attention to character & detail on par with a good short story.On its own, this is simply a great album. In the context of the life and times of Billy Joe Shaver, it is one of the most gratifying and life-affirming musical documents ever made."
A powerful, moving return to solo work
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 11/28/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Though Shaver's songs are better known than he is, his records, particularly in the last decade, have been every bit as good as the classic outlaw discs he helped pen. His hard-scrabble childhood, a tour in the Navy and a series of dead-end jobs provided the early grist for his songwriting mill, leading to his breakthrough writing for Waylon Jennings' "Honky Tonk Heroes." Capitalizing on this success, Shaver recorded a series of fine album throughout the 70s and 80s, incorporating his son Eddy's as he went on.The early 90s found father and son recording with equal billing, releasing a series of albums as "Shaver." Eddy's hotshot guitar playing amped-up his dad's songs, reinvigorating the elder Shaver. After releasing several fine albums, decade's end brought several difficult turns. Billy Joe's wife passed away, as did his mother, and perhaps most distressing of all, his son Eddy died of a drug overdose at the end of 2000.This then, is Billy Joe Shaver's first solo release in 15 years, his first record without his son in a decade-and-a-half. Though only one song, "Day By Day," directly mourns his losses, the damning lyric of "That's Why the Man in Black Sings the Blues" says as much about his son's death as it does about Johnny Cash. Billy Joe Shaver is weary and troubled, but far from beaten. There's resolve to experience the heartache, but not be hamstrung by it, and songs like "Freedom's Child" show both his songcraft and singing at a peak. The lyrics, written several years ago, take on additional layers of meaning in our post-9/11 world, and Shaver's singing is all the more potent for the way it hangs back, rather than competing with the electric backing.The album's poignancy is extended by the nostalgia of "Corsicana Daily Sun," "We", and "Magnolia Mother's Love." The mood is lightened by the humor of "Wild Cow Gravy" and a duet with Todd Snider on the co-written "Deja Blues." Shaver's melodies are more memorable than ever, rendered in an acoustic-electric blend that backs off a notch from his work with Eddy. The result captures the essence of the original outlaw sound, ranging from the electric-guitar and organ mix of the title track, to Western Swing, to the mandolin, harmonica and marching drum of the closing waltz, "Merry Christmas to You." (The bonus track is followed by a minute of silence that reveals a hidden track featuring Eddy Shaver playing and singing the blues, "Necessary Evil," recorded shortly before his passing.)Great art often rises from the ashes of human tragedy, and with this latest release, Billy Joe Shaver shows himself to be a country music Phoenix. Shaver's fans, along with those of the original outlaws, and listeners who wandered in through the and Americana doors should all give this a spin or three."
Welcome Home
hyperbolium | 12/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Welcome home, Billy Joe. It's been too long. There's a maturity in Billy Joe's voice, and more modern instrumentation. That's a good thing! But the roots and essence of this man's music is right up front. I guess I'm one of the few that really didn't appreciate Shaver with a rock background. This is a country singer the way country singers should sound. GREAT recording; keep 'em coming billy Joe."