Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Billy Joe Shaver charged in shooting, attorney says

Incident was at Lorena bar.

By Michael Corcoran

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver, who's been called the poet laureate of Texas music, has been charged with aggravated assault in connection with a shooting outside a Lorena bar Saturday night, his lawyer said.

Shaver's Austin-based attorney, Joe Turner, said his client acted in self-defense.

Photos: His Austin performances

"The other guy was the aggressor," said Turner, who spent Sunday interviewing witnesses at the bar. "He was intoxicated and followed Billy Joe outside the bar with a knife."

The man, who was shot in the cheek, was reported by the Waco Tribune-Herald to be in stable condition at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center on Sunday. Police have not released his name.

Lorena police say the shooting occurred at 8:30 p.m. Saturday outside Papa Joe's Texas Saloon on Interstate 35, 89 miles north of Austin. The bar's owner, who would identify herself only as Gloria, said she had introduced Shaver, 67, to the other man earlier in the night.

Turner said he'd been told by the Lorena chief of police that a warrant has been issued, but he hadn't seen it. He said Shaver will surrender to police when he's served with the warrant.

He said Shaver also was charged with possession of a firearm in an establishment where alcohol is served.

A representative of Shaver's Houston-based record label said before the warrant was issued that the songwriter planned to honor a scheduled appearance at 5 p.m. today at Waterloo Records in Austin. Shaver's "Greatest Hits" album comes out today on Compadre Records, the label recently bought by Matthew Knowles, singer Beyoncé's father.

A fixture on the Texas songwriting scene, Shaver got his big break in 1973, when Waylon Jennings recorded nine Shaver compositions, including the title track on the landmark "Honky Tonk Heroes" LP. His songs have also been covered by Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley.

Shaver served in an unofficial capacity as author-musician Kinky Friedman's "spiritual adviser" during Friedman's run for governor last year.

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