The Portrait of Billy Joe | Chicago Reader

The Portrait of Billy Joe

This low-key video documentary profiles country singer Billy Joe Shaver, a second-tier figure in the “Texas Outlaw” movement of the 1970s who made a powerful comeback in the '90s. Made after the deaths of his mother, his wife, and his guitar-slinging son Eddy, it highlights Shaver's fervent embrace of Christianity, though his interviews, shot in a house so empty it seems to echo, suggest that what's really kept him afloat is sublimating his troubles through song. His story is filled with pathos, yet Shaver seems to embody the life force. Luciana Pedraza directed. 53 min.

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