Central Texas outlaw country music pioneer dies at 81

Central Texas outlaw country music pioneer dies at 81
Billy Joe Shaver, the Central Texas native who helped define outlaw country music, died Wednesday at the age of 81. (Source: Rissa Shaw KWTX)

WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Billy Joe Shaver, the Central Texas native who helped define outlaw country music, died Wednesday in Waco at the age of 81.

Shaver, who recently underwent hip replacement surgery, suffered a major stroke Tuesday morning, his longtime guitarist, Jeremy Woodall, said.

He was taken off life support Wednesday morning, Woodall said.

Shaver was born on Aug. 16, 1939 in Corsicana.

In the 1970s he helped define outlaw country and he recorded more than a dozen albums and wrote songs for such artists as Willie Nelson and Patty Loveless.

“Honky Tonk Heroes,” “Georgia on a Fast Train,” “Old Five and Dimers Like Me” and “Live Forever,” are among the classics for which he’ll be remembered.

He was invited to perform at the Grand Ole Opry in 1999 and in 2006 he was inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

In 2007 he was nominated for a Grammy Award in the best Southern, country or bluegrass gospel album category for “Everybody’s Brother,”, but lost out to Ricky Skaggs and The Whites, whose “Salt of the Earth” won the honors.

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