Sunday, March 26, 2006

i got a call from geoff the other day, and he told me he'd be running sound for billy joe shaver up at central market in fort worth. i thought that it would be cool, go out and see geoff, and maybe i could ge close enough that i could see shaver and maybe hear a little music. cm can get pretty crowded when they have burgers and bock on friday, so i knew that it would be packed with him up there. but what the heck, it's family friendly. i can take luke and the wife, it'll be fun.

well, thursday rolls around, and it's about 1 degree outside. acually, it was about 40, which is pretty cold for texas in march. it has been pretty warm, so it really felt pretty wintry. i pulled up to the parking lot a few minutes before 6, and had to look at my watch to make sure it was the right time, nobody was there. i walked up to the stage area, and there were a couple guys sitting up on the stage with guitars, and geoff was off to the side messing with the sound. billy joe himself was just standing right there like anyone else, wearing a hat, coat, and scarf, red skinned from the cold.

geoff said hi, and introduced me to him. i read a book about waylon jennings one time, and i remembered that bjs introduced himself to waylon as one of the best songwriters or something, so i went into retard mode and introduced myself to billy joe by saying "i'm ben wright, and i'm the third best songwriter that ever lived." he shook my hand and said something about Jesus Christ being the best, and i said that would be me and him as second and third... he went onstage to start playing for the crowd of about 15 that had braved the cold, and i backed off, feeling like a dumbass for introducing myself that way.

billy joe started off with georgia on a fast train. that's my favorite of his. i'm actually learning to play it right now. he always goes through a bunch of songs that i know, some that i don't, and i'll hear something new i hadn't heard before. however, my drinking has nearly always got a hold of me in the past, and i don't really remember the end of any of shaver's show that i saw from the start. since i'm currently not under the influence of beverage, this was a really special occasion. very small crowd, in a place i felt very comfortable, and it was really different than other shows i'd been to. it was cold as hell, but you could tell that billy joe wanted to be there. he wanted to play his songs. if there were people that would stay and listen, he would make sure that he gave them his best. and he really did. the whole time he played, he looked so much at peace, content with his place in life, he looked like some who felt loved. you can see the tough days in his eyes and his skin, but he looks like he understands the big picture. the whole time billy joe was singing, i kept thinking i wish i knew what he did.

mandy and luke came out, so i spent some time near the playground up there with the boy, but i got in a fair sahre of listening. i didn't recall one song, but now it's added to my favorites list. "the devil made me do it the first time, the second time i did it on my own." man, does that sum up my life. i probably knew better both times... maybe i can work that into one of my own songs.

the family was beat down by the cold, so i stayed around for the end. i went up and thanked him for taking the time to play for us, especially when it was so cold. i realized that i was right about what i thought while he was singing... he was hapy and content. he really appreciated that we were there to hear his songs, and he showed it. he took the time to talk to each and every person that came up to him after the show, and he seemed so sincere and appreciative for each person that was there. it really blew me away. most musicians that i meet don't seem like that, especially legenday guys like him.

i bought a copy of his book, honky tonk hero, and a couple sticker. i gave billy joe a copy of my cd, and asked him to sign his book. once again, he thanked me for being there and said he'd listen to my songs. most the time when i give a musician a cd, i feel like it gets used for a coaster, but i believe that he meant it when he said he's listen to it. and that's my biggest musicial accomplishment yet... billy joe shaver has my cd.

inside the book, he signed to "bless you, ben, your friend, billy joe shaver. good luck." not only does billy joe shaver have my cd, he's my friend. i've got it in writing.

i went home and read the book, and that's a whole other post that i'm going to have to put some time into. a quick recap would say that he's relayed a lot of his life story to us in his songs, that he's been a hellion, through much tragedy, and maitained an amazing faith in Jesus the whole time. there's a lot beind that look of peace in his face, and i hope that someday, you'll see that same look in me.


At 10:40 AM, Anonymous Scott Chaffin said...

That devil made me do it is a line from a Waylon song, Black Rose. Surprised you didnae know that...

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Scott Chaffin said...

Of course, on further review, this song is on the Honky Tonk Heros album that is nothing but Waylon singing BJS songs. Scratch that about it being Waylon's -- he just sung it first.


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