Waylon Jennings, man…
The latest installment of this phenomenal Billy Joe Shaver tribute album is here.
Produced by Charlie Sexton and Freddy Fletcher, Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver, features an incredible cast of artists including Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Nathaniel Rateliff, Ryan Bingham and Nikki Lane, Steve Earle, Edie Brickell, Rodney Crowell, Margo Price, Allison Russell, and Amanda Shires.
And today, we’re blessed with Ryan Bingham and Nikki Lane’s killer duet of “Ride Me Down Easy.”
Written by Billy Joe Shaver, “Ride Me Down Easy” was originally recorded in 1973 by Waylon Jennings.
Fresh off a new contract, one that gave him creative control to make his own music, Ol’ Waylon got in touch with Shaver in the early ’70s to write some music for him. Shaver was pretty unknown at the time, so when he got to Nashville to write, Waylon seemed to have changed his mind (or blown him off).
According to Shaver’s memoir, he once showed up at Waylon’s studio and said he was gonna kick Waylon’s ass if he didn’t hear him out.
“Waylon, you said you were going to do a whole album of my songs. I’ve got those songs, and you’re going to listen to them, or I’m going to kick your ass right here in front of God and everybody.”
Good luck trying that one today…
Anyways, Waylon gave him the chance to play one song, and he liked what he heard. Shaver played a few more and Waylon was stunned:
“By the time he ran out of breath, I wanted to record all of them.”
And the iconic 1973 album, Honky Tonk Heroes was born.
Nearly completely written by Billy Joe Shaver, produced by Tompall Glaser instead of Chet Atkins, and using Waylon’s band instead of studio musicians, it was a departure from everything Waylon had done previously.
The album would put Shaver on the map, set the tone for the Outlaw Country movement, and be regarded as one of Waylon’s best of his decorated career.
Flashforward to today, and a number of great country artists have come together to record some of those very same songs that Waylon Jennings recorded back in the ’70s.
Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver, is set to drop on November 11th.