Shaver | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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SHAVER

On "Try and Try Again," a life-affirming ditty about suicide on his latest album, Billy Joe Shaver hollers so damn joyfully you'd think he just shimmied out of the abyss himself. Careerwise, it ain't far from the truth. Until he released the hard-rocking instant classic Tramp on Your Street in 1993, he was still best known for writing most of the tunes on Waylon Jennings's 1973 album Honky Tonk Heroes (reissued recently by Buddha). But since that initial triumph, he and his guitar-whiz kid, Eddy--who together go by Shaver--have been on a hot streak, with a couple of largely acoustic efforts (the decent Highway of Life and the wonderful gospel album Victory) and now Electric Shaver (New West), a return to the amped-up hardscrabble sound of Tramp. Much of the album is country with a heavy blues and boogie-woogie accent; Eddy could rock a roadhouse as easily as a honky-tonk with his scorching twang. And his dad's obviously having the time of his life, whether he's turning a string of misanthropic complaints into a stand-up routine ("People and Their Problems") or celebrating a love/hate relationship with blue-collar life ("Manual Labor"). Onstage, he's even more fun. Friday, 10 PM, FitzGerald's, 6615 Roosevelt, Berwyn; 708-788-2118. PETER MARGASAK

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