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Billy Joe Shaver is no stranger to adversity -- in fact, it has been a near-constant companion. The Texas country legend was raised by his mother and grandmother due to his father leaving before he was born. He taught himself to play guitar after losing the better part of two fingers on his right hand in a lumber mill accident. He tried to hitchhike to Los Angeles and wound up in Nashville. Seems like license enough to consider himself a "Honky Tonk Hero."

Long after that song and so many others of Shaver's were cut by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Kris Kristofferson and the Allman Brothers, Shaver continued to haul the outlaw country he helped pioneer around dusty dives and dance halls, destined to dwell under the radar. Then, in the span of a year at the turn of the millennium, he lost his mother, wife and son, and soon after had a heart attack onstage.

He has released six albums since. Add a tribute album for good measure.

Back in April, outside a small-town Texas honky tonk, Shaver shot a man in the face (the injuries were not life-threatening). For the record, Shaver turned himself in to authorities, posted bond and played an album release show in Austin the same day.

His upcoming album is a spiritual effort titled "Everybody's Brother," produced by John Carter Cash and featuring a late-'70s duet with the Man in Black himself. The otherwise all-new release hits Aug. 7 on Compadre Records.

If you're among the lucky dozens who have a ticket for his sold-out Private Party Series show at the Sportsmen's Tavern, 326 Amherst St., at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, expect to hear plenty of these "honky tonk gospel" songs. Just don't be surprised when he works in his wild-side tales of wine and women.


>Ballroom bonanza

Give praise to the folks at the Town Ballroom, 681 Main St., for lining up a killer week.

Punk pioneers Social Distortion blast in at 8 tonight, armed with a new greatest hits album and swirling rumors that they're working a just their second new album in over a decade.

The Lemonheads, or should we call them Evan Dando and his Fleeting Friends, roll in at 7 p.m. Sunday, and hopefully they're all still talking. The enigmatic slacker rocker and head-Lemon Dando has left a sour taste in the mouth of so many former bandmates that it's hard to say who'll be with him when they take the stage, but the best word available says that he'll be backed by the rhythm section from the Pieces.

Wednesday will certainly be a night to remember with performances by pivotal country-rock trend-setters Chris Hillman and Richie Furay. Hillman's hands are all over the early history of country-rock; Furay has long-since found religion since his days with Buffalo Springfield and Poco. They'll all run through their hits together after each playing separate sets. Doors open at 7 p.m.

Tickets for Town Ballroom shows are available through

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