Billy Joe Shaver, Whitey Morgan & the 78s | FitzGerald's | Folk & Country | Chicago Reader
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Billy Joe Shaver, Whitey Morgan & the 78s 

When: Wed., Jan. 18, 8:30 p.m. 2012
Price: $20
On the song "Wacko From Waco," the first new release in four years by Texas country-music veteran Billy Joe Shaver, he addresses a 2007 incident in which he shot a man in the jaw outside a bar, managing to brag about his toughness while claiming self-defense: "I don't start fights / I finish fights." (In April 2010 Shaver, 72, was found not guilty of aggravated assault.) The confrontation took place the same day Shaver and his wife at the time were out taking pictures of things they thought they might want professionally photographed for the cover of his most recent album, Everybody's Brother, a 2007 collection of original gospel tunes that includes duets with John Anderson, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash. As one of the key figures in the Texas outlaw-country movement, Shaver has never been subtle, and though he's an excellent songwriter his lyrics don't always square up: the lines "If you don't love Jesus / Go to hell" (from Everybody's Brother) don't sound particularly Christian to me. Fortunately his voice sounds as good as ever, despite his age—his soulful croak is country through and through. Opening the show are the impressive Whitey Morgan & the 78's, a band from Flint, Michigan, who happen to have covered "Where Do You Want It," a Dale Watson song sensationalizing the Shaver shooting—which the older man doesn't much appreciate. In a May interview with Texas Monthly Shaver said, "I told him, 'I never said that.' And he said, 'Yeah, but it sounds so good in the song.' It hurt me real bad. Dale knocked me down and stomped on me." —Peter Margasak Whitey Morgan & the 78s open.



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