Billy Joe Shaver is one of the real good songwriters of his generation. His country and country-rock tunes have filled his fine albums and have been covered by countless others. His late son, Eddy, is the Kid referred to in the title of this record. Eddy was a fine guitarist who overdosed on New Year’s Eve in 2000. This record serves as tribute from a loving father, and a forum for Eddy’s talents.
There’s a mixture here. All cuts feature Eddy in some way, and show his versatility and ability as a guitarist. Some unexpected, but quite welcome, metal-esque guitar lays the groundwork for fine slide by Eddy on “Lighting a Torch.” Eddy’s blues leanings pop up more than a few times. The funky rocker “Baptism of Fire” features him in a trio, live in a club, and he cooks. His vocals also prove a pleasant surprise, calling to mind Gregg Allman. “Necessary Evil” is a slow blues that features Eddy solo. You need listen no further to hear what a fine player he was.
Several cuts are Eddy with his dad that let you know he was at home in the country idiom, too. After all, this is the guy who filled the guitar chair in Dwight Yoakam’s band when Pete Anderson didn’t tour. “Eagle on the Ground” is one of those country ballads that stick in your brain forever. Great fills and a fine Eddy vocal.
There are 11 cuts here, and they all work at some level. Billy and the Kid is a fine tribute to a player who left us too early. It’s also a nice way for a father to say goodbye to his son and let everyone know what they lost.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.