Electric Shaver


New West Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not the world's biggest country music fan. There are a few country artists whose work I like a lot, but I just haven't developed a big appetite for this genre of music. (If anything, doing this site has expanded my palate for country music; I've heard many artists over the last two years whose work I have enjoyed immensely.)

Then, along comes Billy Joe Shaver and his son Eddy. I swear, these two are hell-bent on converting me to a country music afficionado. Their last album Victory, was an acoustical country wonder that surprised me last year.

It is rare when I say of any artist that they've done it again. This is one of those times: Shaver have done it again with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Electric Shaver, an album that is a merge of folk, country... and even a little rock and roll. Simply put, it's a masterpiece.

Where Victory was a folk-country religious revival tale of a man who had been in the lowest depths of his life and is given one more chance, Electric Shaver is a celebration from note one to the very end of life and its highs and lows. From the inspirational ("Try And Try Again") to the more cynical ("You Wouldn't Know Love (If You Fell In It)", Billy Joe and Eddy Shaver - along with the rest of the band - capture the listener fro the start and refuse to let go until the final note has faded out.

Let's assume, for a moment, that I worked at a country radio station. Let's also assume that I had the courage to pick Electric Shaver up from the inbox and give it a spin. Let's finally assume that I heard the track "People And Their Problems," decided this could be the next "Friends In Low Places", and gave it serious airplay. What's my point? Simple: This particular track is a helluva lot of fun to listen to, and has all the makings of a "hit single"... that is, if it were given a fair chance. I'm challenging all country radio stations right now: Put this song on in at least medium rotation, and watch the boards light up. You'll thank me later.

For that matter, "Leanin' Toward The Blues" is a number that erases all the boundaries between country, rock and blues, and is a rollicking good time that I didn't want to end.

But country is still the heart of Shaver, and they don't disappoint in the least. "Heart To Heart," "I'll Be Here" and "Slave At The Feet Of The Queen" all shine, occasionally reminding me of the style of Hank Williams, Sr. If you were to ask me if there was a weak track on this album, I'd answer, "No."

Electric Shaver is an album that did one thing that I didn't think was quite possible: it turned out to be a better album than Victory. You might have to search this album out, but it's well worth the hassle. Rip off the shrinkwrap, put the phone on hold for 45 minutes, and kick back with one of the best country albums I've ever listened to.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of New West Records, and is used for informational purposes only.