Unshaven: Live at Smith's Olde Bar, Billy Joe Shaver's only live recording, is proof that you can't keep a talent such as his out of the spotlight. Coming off of the success of Tramp on Your Street, his first recording in many years and the first with Eddy and his own band, this disc is a historical event that captures not only the power of the performance, but also the subtle, gentle spirit that is the man. Kicking off with the sizzling "The Hottest Thing in Town," which shows off the tight band that supports Shaver, the stage is set. Working through some old and some new compositions, every song is a Shaver original. "Georgia on a Fast Train" and "Old Chunk of Coal," longtime favorites that were covered by other less capable artists, come across as fresh. The Waylon Jennings hit that set off the explosion that was known as the Outlaw Movement during the 1970s, "Honky Tonk Heroes," is more heartfelt than ever. Heartfelt and tender, the man who has been compared to Hank Sr. in terms of talent and skill, makes even the coldest heart feel again as he sings "Live Forever," joined by Eddy, and the definitive love song, "Because You Asked Me To." Obviously the centerpiece of the band, he is also gracious and humble, giving all the players their due and glowing in the success of the son he loves so well. This is one live recording that not only works, it is an important document commemorating a moment in time in the life of one of the world's most exalted artists.
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AllMusic Review by Jana Pendragon