Shaver - Victory [CD]

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  • Jewel Case 

"Only Billy Joe Shaver could write a song about a cowboy’s last one-night stand in New York City and turn it into a parable for the immaculate conception. Or at least that’s what “Cowboy Who Started The Fight” seems to be about, but, then, only Shaver could write “It’s hard to be a Christian soldier/When you own a gun/And it hurts to have to watch a grown man cry.”

As advertised, Victory (named for Shaver’s mother — his birth certificate is reproduced inside) is a country gospel album. It is also made poignant by his ex-wife’s battle with cancer. Gospel has always been a part of Shaver’s music, if less obviously; indeed, two songs here are familiar (“Live Forever” and “Old Five And Dimers”). But Victory is something more than a collection of Shaver-penned gospel numbers. Like Kurosawa’s Ran and David Lean’s A Passage To India, this latest work feels like the summation of a lifetime. And if the only analogies which come to mind are from film, perhaps that’s because few writers working in popular music chase their art as long and as hard as Shaver has.

In keeping with Shaver’s personality, his is a simple, understated summation, just Billy Joe’s still-raw voice, with son Eddy on understated guitar and dobro in a studio for eight days. Roll tape. And he holds nothing back, from the broken, aching exultation of “You Can’t Beat Jesus” to the worn prayer of “If I Give My Soul” (“If I give my soul/Will my son love me again?” he asks, and Eddy’s dobro answers yes three times, sweetly).

Or put more simply, Victory is just that: a simple victory, wise words learned hard, said plain, the cost and joy both in Shaver’s voice."  - Grant Alden, No Depression


  1. Son Of Calvary
  2. You Can't Beat Jesus Christ
  3. Cowboy Who Started The Fight
  4. Live Forever
  5. I'm In Love
  6. If I Give My Soul 
  7. When The Fallen Angels Fly
  8. Christian Soldier
  9. My Mother's Name Is Victory
  10. Old Five and Dimers
  11. Presents From The Past
  12. The Bow And The Arrow