This first disc on the prominent Texas label Justice Records is a thoughtful, more sensitive acoustic version of Billy Joe and Eddy Shaver. With a new lineup that includes California country fiddle phenomenon Brantley Kearns, Highway of Life is a poetic look back on the rough-and-tumble life that has been the fodder for Billy Joe's artistry. A poet as well as a bard and philosopher, Billy Joe is once again at the center of Shaver's performance and style. Starting off with "Yesterday Tomorrow Was Today," a wordsmith's delight, and ending with a love song, "The First and the Last Time," written especially for his loving wife, Brenda Joyce Shaver, this release is revealing. The upbeat "West Texas Waltz" is moving in that it transports the listener back in time with its infectious and swaying rhythms, creating a romantic picture about dancing arm in arm with a lover beneath a clear and star-studded west Texas sky. Never at a loss to find humor in even his most introspective moments, "You're Only as Young as the Woman You Feel" is outstanding and makes a clear statement about growing older from a man's perspective. A different side of Billy Joe, Eddy, and their band of merry men, but still a noteworthy project that adds new depth and scope to the legend of Billy Joe Shaver.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jana Pendragon