It shouldn't work. If you put a white-haired Texas cowboy-poet with a longhaired rock-guitar soloist, you think, they're bound to get in each other's way, even if the former is the father of the latter. But Billy Joe Shaver, who once wrote a whole album for Waylon Jennings, and Eddy Shaver, a confessed Z.Z. Top fan, have formed a band simply called Shaver and they mesh astonishingly well. On their fifth album together, "Electric Shaver," the younger Shaver shows an unerring instinct for staying out of his daddy's way at the right times and delivering an amplified wallop behind Billy Joe's ornery commentary at other times.
Of course, Billy Joe was a charter member of the outlaw-country gang with Willie & Waylon, and his songs about "Thunderbird" wine, "Manual Labor" and "New York City" boast an irreverence that call for roughing up at Eddy's hands. In Robert Duvall's film, "The Apostle," Billy Joe played the best friend of a renegade preacher, and an evangelical gospel fervor informs Billy Joe's best new songs -- the common-sense aphorisms of "Try and Try Again" and the cranky complaints of "People and Their Problems." Producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams) and a solid rhythm section provide sympathetic support for a father and son who know just when to let the words evoke a time and place and when to let the guitar shoot lightning through the scene.
Appearing Sunday at IOTA. To hear a free Sound Bite from Electric Shaver, call Post-Haste at 202/334-9000 and press 8109. (Prince William residents, call 690-4110.)