the Honky Tonk Heroes is often considered to be the first true outlaw–country album, and it is also regarded as Waylon Jennings’ crowning achievement. If it weren’t for this album, country music would not be where it is now and wouldn’t sound the way it does.
It altered the road that country music was on for the rest of time. Its impact has continued to reverberate across the music industry over the last fifty years, and it can still be heard in the work of anyone who dares to go outside of the box while maintaining and adhering to a traditionalism that is at the heart of the music itself.It was a modest step for Waylon Jennings at the time, but it turned out to be a gigantic leap for the genre – everyone from Chris Stapleton to Sturgill Simpson, Margo Price to J.D. Wyatt owes a debt of gratitude to the initial few steps taken by Jennings and Shaver so many years ago.
Billie Joe Shaver, the guy who Willie Nelson once referred to as the “greatest living songwriter,” died this year at the age of 81, marking the passing of a pioneering figure in country music who was a real original and inventor. The songs he penned are more than simply cowboy songs; they are also love ballads. They’re national anthems, after all.