Billy Joe Shaver

Billy Joe Shaver was raised by his mother after his father left the family before he was born. Shaver joined the U.S. Navy on his seventeenth birthday. Upon his discharge, he worked a series of dead-end jobs, including trying to be a rodeo cowboy.  Billy Joe Shaver took a job at a lumber mill to make ends meet. One day his right hand became caught in the machinery and he lost the better part of two fingers. He eventually recovered, and taught himself to play the guitar without those missing fingers.  Deciding life was too short he set out hitchhiking to L.A.. He couldn’t get a ride west, and ended up accompanying a man who dropped him off just outside of Memphis. The next ride brought him to Nashville, where he found a job as a songwriter. His work came to the attention of Waylon Jennings, who filled most of his album Honky Tonk Heroes with Shaver’s songs. Other artists, including Elvis Presley and Kris Kristofferson, began to record Shaver’s music which led to his own record deal.

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