The best songwriter you’ve never heard of

Salon has top-story coverage of The Portrait of Billy Joe, a documentary on Texas singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver — described by Willie Nelson as “maybe the best songwriter alive today.” Shaver has labored primarily in obscurity; his records don’t sell particularly well, but his influence is felt across the board, from contemporaries like Nelson and Waylon Jennings (whose 1973 album “Honky Tonk Heroes” is comprised almost entirely of Shaver’s work) to new acts like Kid Rock (who had Shaver open for him in his recent Houston show). Find a way to see this film, and in the meantime do yourself a favor and pick up some of Billy Joe’s work; if you haven’t yet, “you’re just crazy as hell.”

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