CMT Premiere: George Strait Pays Tribute to Billy Joe Shaver with "Willy The Wandering Gypsy And Me"

“Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver” will be available Nov. 11.

More than two years after Texas singer-songwriter Billy Joe Shaver died, some of country music’s most beloved stars are paying tribute to the “Hard To Be An Outlaw” singer.

“Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver,” available Nov. 11, will include Willie Nelson and Lucinda Williams, George Strait, Miranda Lambert, Nathaniel Rateliff, Ryan Bingham and Nikki Lane, Steve Earle, Edie Brickell, Rodney Crowell, Margo Price, Allison Russell, and Amanda Shires singing versions of Shaver’s classics.

CMT is premiering Strait’s contribution “Willy The Wandering Gypsy And Me.”

“About three years ago, Lou Messina, the promoter, had a big birthday party down in our studio, and George came in and sang ‘Willy, the Wandering Gypsy and Me,’ and it blew me away,” said co-producer Freddy Fletcher to Variety. “I’m like, ‘Wait a minute!’ So after he finished, I was talking to him and said ‘I can’t believe (you did) a Billy Joe Shaver song.’ He said, ‘Yes, it’s one of my favorite songs.’ And I went, holy shit. It stuck with me, and then when we decided to do this record, he said, ‘I’ll do it if I can do that song.’ And it was perfect. I had a lot of work on my end, because there was a lot of people vying for certain songs, but there was no way I was gonna tell George Strait he couldn’t have that song.”

Strait said: "It was an honor to be a part of this tribute to one of Texas’s best. He got down deep into the very soul of country. RIP Billy Joe. See you down the road amigo."

Strait isn’t the only iconic country singer who loves Shaver. Johnny Cash called Shaver “my favorite songwriter,” and Willie Nelson said, “Billy Joe is definitely the best writer in Texas.”

Shaver took his craft seriously.

“When you write songs, and you write good songs, people will always remember you,” he said. “Words will always outlive us. And if your name is attached to those words, you’re gonna live forever.”

Preorder here.


Live Forever: A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver Track Listing:

1. Willie Nelson (w/ Lucinda Williams) - Live Forever

2. Ryan Bingham (w/ Nikki Lane) - Ride Me Down Easy

3. Rodney Crowell - Old Five And Dimers Like Me

4. Miranda Lambert - I’m Just An Old Chunk Of Coal (But I’m Gonna Be A Diamond Someday)

5. Edie Brickell - I Couldn’t Be Me Without You

6. Nathaniel Rateliff - You Asked Me To

7. George Strait - Willy The Wandering Gypsy And Me

8. Amanda Shires - Honky Tonk Heroes

9. Steve Earle - Ain’t No God In Mexico

10. Margo Price - Ragged Old Truck

11. Willie Nelson - Georgia On A Fast Train

12. Allison Russell - Tramp On Your Street

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