Billy Joe Shaver, "Restless Wind: The Legendary Billy Joe Shaver, 1973-1987," Razor & Tie. ***

This country-leaning Texan has written songs about restless independence and dreams that are so rich in character and emotion that they have been recorded by everyone from Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson to Elvis Presley and the Allman Brothers Band. Yet Shaver remains largely unknown to both rock and country audiences.

The good news is this collection brings together some (though not all) of Shaver's most memorable tunes, including the bittersweet "Old Five and Dimers Like Me" and the gospel-edged "I'm Just an Old Chunk of Coal."

As a singer, Shaver doesn't match the dynamics that some other artists have brought to his material, but there's a ragged conviction to his singing that adds to the deeply human qualities of his tunes. He plays the Galaxy Theatre in Santa Ana on Nov. 11.

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (e x cellent).

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