The Original Honky Tonk Hero Returns to Southeast Ohio

Mark Hellenberg

Updated Wed, Mar 14, 2012 3:22 pm

Country music legend Billy Joe Shaver will perform at the Adelphia Music Hall in downtown Marietta, Ohio, this Saturday. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by Charleston, W.Va group Hybrid Soul Project at 10 p.m.

Shaver, known as the original honky tonk hero, has been through a lot in his 72 years.

He was abandoned by his father, enlisted in the Navy at 17, severed two fingers while working in a sawmill, and buried his mother, his wife (who he divorced twice and married three times) and his only son within a year of each other.

In 2007, Shaver was tried for shooting a man outside a bar. Although he surrendered to authorities a few days later, he managed to make bail and play a gig that same day (he was later acquitted of the shooting after testifying that he acted in self-defense).

Other trials and tribulations have included back surgery, a quadruple bypass after having a heart attack on stage, getting 136 stitches in his head and fighting drug and alcohol addiction for years.

After recovering from the sawmill accident, Shaver decided to learn guitar and eventually found a job in Nashville writing songs for $50 a week.

Since then, his songs have been recorded by The Allman Brothers, Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Robert Earl Keen, Kris Kristofferson, Patty Loveless, Elvis Presley, Todd Snider and most notably, the late Waylon Jennings.

Jennings' 1973 album Honky Tonk Heroes was filled with Shaver's songs and is considered the quintessential "outlaw country" recording. Shaver himself recorded his classic "Old Five and Dimers Like Me" that same year.

Although he never acheived the level of fame as some of his outlaw country colleagues, Shaver was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006 and was recently awarded the Americana Music Association's Lifetime Achievement Award in Songwriting.
More information about Saturday's show, visit