Everybody's Brother is the long awaited "honky-tonk gospel" record from Billy Joe Shaver. But don't let that fool you. Billy Joe has never done anything in a simple manner. And this is not your typical "spiritual" album, although it has plenty of gusto in that department.
Nope, one would reckon that Everybody's Brother is about as wily, twisted and filled with tenacity as any disc on the market these days. A little help from friends and family put Billy Joe on the right path, and having Johnny Cash's son produce didn't hurt either. Most of the tracks with Shaver's backing band were cut on first takes, and the snap, crackle and pop of a live performance is felt throughout.
Looking for special guests? Shaver loads the cart full with the most legendary and influential artists of all time, and they provide the fireworks for Everybody's Brother's roof rattling highlights. “Get Thee Behind Me Satan” has John Anderson pushing Shaver's performance to otherworldly levels, and Marty Stuart shifts the tempo into overdrive on the buoyantly rocking "Winning Again." With a Lakota chorus and Bill Miller on pow-wow drums, Native American cedar flute and vocals, the title track harkens back to the ancient spirits of the soul, earth, sun, moon and sky. Kris Kristofferson hits pay dirt on "No Earthly Good," and Johnny Cash rounds out the set with the leveling "You Just Can't Beat Jesus Christ."
There are so many good songs on Everybody's Brother that it becomes redundant to list them all, and that's the charm of Billy Joe Shaver. He can take a little rock, country and gospel and make it palatably working for all of us.
Everybody’s Brother is out September 24 on Compadre Records.