Veteran singer/songwriter Billy Joe Shaver tapped friends and compatriots to help out on “The Real Deal,” his first new studio set since 2002. Due Sept. 20 from Compadre, the disc features the Texas-based artist working with country stars Big & Rich, as well as Nancy Griffith, Kimmie Rhodes, Flaco Jimenez and Kevin Fowler.
Big & Rich’s Big Kenny calls Shaver “a classic poet and a songsmith … the kind of person you can listen to for hours.” On “The Real Deal,” the duo duets with Shaver on “Live Forever,” a track they also co-produced. Griffith appears on the song “Valentine,” while “Feliz Navidad” finds Jimenez and Shaver tapping into the holiday spirit.
“The Real Deal” is Shaver’s second studio album for Compadre in a career that has found him recording for Capricorn, Columbia, Volcano and New West, among other labels. The set comes on the heels of the May release of “Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver — Live,” a document of Shaver’s 65th birthday celebration in Austin, Texas. Robert Earl Keen, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Guy Clark, Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis were among those on hand to pay homage.
Shaver is on the road with tour dates stretching into December. He will visit Grapevine, Texas, on Friday (July 22) and also make a Sept. 3 stop at Seattle’s Bumbershoot festival.