Hard-country survivor soldiers on with his 12th studio album

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Billy Joe Shaver – Freedom’s Child

The Texas rebel singer-songwriter who helped kickstart the ’70s Outlaw Country movement still packs a punch 20 years later. On Freedom’s Child, his first recording since the death of his guitar-hero son Eddie on New Year’s Eve 2000, Billy Joe Shaver mixes up gritty, almost Stones-like house-rockers with honky-tonk drinking songs, raw rockabilly romps and loss-tinged acoustic ballads.

Shaver’s leathery voice and unpretentious but poetic word-slinging suggest what Guy Clark might sound like if he moved from the coffeehouse to the roadhouse.