I love Billy Joe Shaver. He is one of the best songwriters of our time and one of the most soulful country voices of our generation. What is particularly special about his latest release is that it is all gospel music. Sure, it’s Shaver-ized gospel, (“If you don’t love Jesus go to Hell,” for example) but there is as much heart and spirit here as you’d find in an old Baptist church off the state road nestled among the pines. Shaver sings his lyrics in such a way that you just know he believes each and every word. He sings with real conviction.
Another great thing about Everybody’s brother is that it features some of his heavyweight friends, not the least of which is Johnny Cash, who duets with Billy Joe on “You Just Can’t Beat Jesus Christ.” I must confess it was nice to hear the lead guitar of Shaver’s son, the late Eddy Shaver, on this track as well.
There are two duets with John Anderson, including “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” and “Jesus is the Only One Who Loves Us.” Bill Miller joins Billy Joe for the title track, “Everybody’s Brother,” and Tanya Tucker sings with him on “Played The Game Too Long.”
Another favorite artist of mine, Marty Stuart, performs with Billy Joe on “Winning Again,” and there is an excellent duet with Kris Kristofferson on “No Earthly Good.”
Of course, Billy Joe himself is the centerpiece of this whole arrangement, and he delivers the goods every single time, on songs like “When I Get My Wings,” and “Rolling Stone.”
The album was produced by John Carter Cash at Cash Cabin Studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Cash does an excellent job, as usual, with Billy Joe’s music, and the end result is a true tribute to one of our living legends of country music and his personal faith and love of his heavenly Father.
-Michael Buffalo Smith