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Rough around the edges

Music | Billy Joe Shaver led a hard life but penned music full of truth
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 11/19/20, 03:28 pm

I once interviewed R.C. Sproul about his book Willing To Believe. In its discussion of faith and salvation, he’d referred to semi-Pelagians as “barely” Christians, and I asked him what he meant.

“All of us who are Christians,” he said laughing, “are only barely Christians.”

The country-music singer-songwriter and Texas legend Billy Joe Shaver would have agreed.

Shaver, many of whose compositions became “outlaw country” staples, died three days before Halloween after suffering a stroke. He was 81.

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Atypical “best-ofs”

Music | New and noteworthy releases
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 11/19/20, 03:05 pm

Herb Alpert Is ... by Herb Alpert: An accessory to the authorized documentary of the same name, Herb Alpert Is … begins with its subject’s swinging instrumental ’60s, continues with his chart-topping ’70s (both “This Guy’s in Love With You” and “Rise” reached No. 1), and proceeds to the dapper Miles Davis–lite funk of his ’80s and ’90s (choicest cut: “Sneakin’ In”). It winds down with 11 21st-century recordings featuring a little bit of everything (Edith Piaf, Michael Jackson, Irving Berlin, “Wade in the Water”). Once in a while, he or others sing.

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Melodic sensibilities

Music | Noteworthy new or recent releases
by Arsenio Orteza
Posted 11/05/20, 04:46 pm

The Omnibus by Roland Chadwick & the Modern Guitar Trio: The ensemble’s name implies four classical guitarists, but the cover—accurately—shows three. And they’re enough. Although Roland Chadwick composed all 19 pieces himself, he, Vincent Lindsey-Clark, and Roland Gallery interact with a riveting sensitivity to their melodies, to each other, and to the slyer implications of the titles. “Stumbler’s Waltz” suggests even people with two left feet might have a future on the dance floor.

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