Guitarist Eddy Shaver, Son of Billy Joe Shaver, Dies in Waco

Eddy Shaver, an accomplished guitarist and son of Texas songwriting legend Billy Joe Shaver, died in the early hours of Sunday morning (Dec. 31) in Waco, Texas. Mr. Shaver’s stinging, tasteful electric leads and his acoustic finger-picking graced five albums recorded with his father under the name Shaver.

No cause of death has been released, but a spokesman for Mr. Shaver’s record label said the musician apparently suffered some form of overdose. He was 38. Mr. Shaver was said to have been staying at a hotel with his wife, Irene, who discovered him unconscious and called for an ambulance. He was pronounced dead at 2:58 a.m. Sunday at a Waco-area hospital.

Born John Edwin Shaver, Mr. Shaver learned guitar from Dickey Betts of the Allman Bros. Band. He played music with his father beginning at age 14 and with singer-songwriter Guy Clark at 15. He worked his first recording session with Willie Nelson. For three years Mr. Shaver played guitar and toured with Dwight Yoakam before rejoining his father in a roots rock band, Shaver. The group specialized in roadhouse blues and country/rock on their albums, beginning with 1993’s critically acclaimed Tramp on Your Street. The Shavers recently completed 15 tracks for a new album, The Earth Rolls On, scheduled for release on New West Records on March 20. Mr. Shaver issued a solo album, Baptism of Fire, in 1996 on the French label Dixie Frog. He was scheduled to begin recording his first U.S. solo album for Antone’s Records this week in Austin, Texas, with Betts as a special guest.

Mr. Shaver’s mother, Brenda Joyce Tindell Shaver, and his grandmother, Victory Shaver — Billy Joe Shaver’s wife and mother, respectively — both died of cancer in 1999. Billy Joe Shaver rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the writer of nine of 10 songs on Waylon Jennings’ landmark album, Honky Tonk Heroes. Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, John Anderson, Bobby Bare and numerous others have recorded his songs.

Visitation will be from 2-9 p.m. CT today (Jan. 2) at Heritage Memorial Funeral Home in Waco. Visitation continues from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. CT Wednesday (Jan. 3) and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. CT Thursday (Jan. 4). A funeral service will take place at 2 p.m. CT Thursday (Jan. 4) at Heritage.