Tributes from musicians began rolling in on Wednesday after the news broke that outlaw country music legend Billy Joe Shaver has died at the age of 81 after suffering a fatal stroke in Waco, Texas.
Country star Jason Isbell took to Twitter Wednesday to remember the legendary artist whose songs were recorded by Elvis Presley, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash, calling him “the only true outlaw.”
“Billy Joe Shaver might’ve been the only true outlaw who ever made his living writing about the inner workings of his heart,” Isbell wrote. “The realest of them all.”
Willie Nelson’s official Twitter account retweeted a conversation he had with Shaver on his Sirius XM radio show “Willie’s Roadhouse” back in 2012. According to Rolling Stone, Nelson once lauded Shaver as “the greatest living songwriter.”
The Cartoon Network animated series “Squidbillies” remembered Shaver, who recorded the show’s theme song: “One of the original outlaws of country music, Billy Joe Shaver recorded the Squidbillies theme for us in a church outside of Austin. He was a genius songwriter, had a great sense of humor and gave our show instant credibility.”
The “Honky Tonk Heroes” songwriter was also remembered by rock band The Record Company, who wrote a favorite lyric of his: “RIP – ‘I’m just an old chunk of coal, but I’m gonna be a diamond someday’. Your songs will live forever.”
Fellow Texas-born artist Koe Wetzel called Shaver an “absolute legend” and wrote that he’s “very saddened” to hear about his passing.
Read more remembrances of Shaver below.
Billy Joe Shaver might’ve been the only true outlaw who ever made his living writing about the inner workings of his heart. The realest of them all.
— Jason IsBOO (@JasonIsbell) October 28, 2020
Hear @WillieNelson talk to @BillyJoe_Shaver + @jamey_johnson @lukasnelson & @Dallas_Wayne during 2012 #Heroes album special on @SIRIUSXM RIP Billy Joe Shaver #HonkyTonkHero #LiveForever pic.twitter.com/OpbUwIao8j
— Willie's Roadhouse (@SXMWillie) October 28, 2020
Man, very saddened to hear about Billy Joe Shaver passing away. Absolute legend.
— Koe Wetzel (@KoeWetzel) October 28, 2020
One of the original outlaws of country music, Billy Joe Shaver recorded the Squidbillies theme for us in a church outside of Austin. He was a genius songwriter, had a great sense of humor and gave our show instant credibility. RIP Billy Joe Shaver. https://t.co/5NG92MF7S9
— Squidbillies (@Squidbillies) October 28, 2020
Billy Joe Shaver – RIP – "I'm just an old chunk of coal, but I'm gonna be a diamond someday".
Your songs will live forever. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/xSnGJE835o
— The Record Company (@therecordcomp) October 28, 2020
RIP Billy Joe Shaver just lost a friend & I am totally heartbroken. 💔 pic.twitter.com/A1UJxTDvpx
— JESSE DAYTON (@jessedayton) October 28, 2020
Billy Joe Shaver. Man, you will be so missed. Thank you for the songs and the shows. Rest in peace, sir. Gonna go listen to Live Forever. 💔
— Aaron Lee Tasjan (@aaronleetasjan1) October 28, 2020
Damnit… Not #billyjoeshaver too…
— Jeremy mccomb (@Jeremymccomb) October 28, 2020
This is very sad. The first time I heard Billy Joe Shaver he was on @cmt with the video for “Georgia on a Fast Train.” I was living in a trailer park and I laughed and made fun of how country the song was. Later it would become one of my all time…https://t.co/erLfFjDR9u
— Dusty Slay (@dustyslay) October 28, 2020