DAVE'S DIARY - 4 NOVEMBER 2005 - Billy Joe Shaver, Kinky and Squidbillies.

The internationally acclaimed ABC TV documentary on Nu Country FM enjoyed its season at the recent Westgarth Film Festival.

It previously adorned the finals of the prestigious 35th Nashville Film Festival in Tennessee.

Nu Country was directed and produced by Melbourne filmmakers Nick Brenner and Angela Borelli in 2000-1.

It was screened on the ABC in its Reality Bites series on September 3, 2002.
Now, three years down the Lost Highway, the documentary features in a festival about a kilometre south of the studio where the station broadcast from 1995-2000.
Nu Country FM burned down at 9. 49 p.m. - June 26, 2000 - first day of its 28th broadcast in its seven year struggle to win a community broadcasting licence against all odds.

The docco features the late Peter Cresp-Gerrard - Monash University graduate and former Sunshine secondary teacher - and widow Kathy who stood by her man when he received a heart transplant after being bashed by a female student.
It tells of the battle by bluegrass and midnight to dawn host Peter and personnel officer Kathy - a former secondary school principal - to get to air on time despite unpredictable medication.

They're joined in their tear jerking tribulations by mailman and gospel show host Neil Kirk - a stroke victim, former chauffeur to the stars, Windsor Hotel doorman and latter day Bunnings Northland greeter.


Also featured in the documentary is singing Texan crime novelist Kinky Friedman and touring partners Little Jewford and Billy Joe Shaver.

Friedman and Little Jewford - an original member of the Texas Jewboys - headlined a star-studded benefit concert to save the station after its Beer Can Hill studios fire.

They gig at the famed Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda, on August 26, 2000, raised bridging finance for the station's resurrection at the Paris, Texas, end of Collins St, in January, 2001.

The Kinkster scored international headlines by running against Rick Perry in the Texas Gubernatorial campaign.
Friedman, 60, enlisted Shaver as spiritual adviser in his campaign to become the Texas Governor.

Shaver, travelling on one artery toured Australia with The Kinkster in 2002, and had quadruple heart by-pass surgery on return to Austin.


Shaver, 65, recently released autobiography Honky Tonk Hero, appeared on 60 Minutes and was subject of the documentary The Portrait Of Billy Joe - directed by fellow singing actor Robert Duvall's wife Luciana Pedraza for Butchers Run Films.
The screening of Nu Country FM preceded The Portrait Of Billy Joe and competed with it at the Nashville Film Festival.

Shaver was also honoured on the all star cast album A Tribute To Billy Joe Shaver: Live and recently released his 16th album The Real Deal on Compadre.

< Billy Joe Shaver

He married the same wife Brenda three times before she died of cancer in July 1999 after a long struggle with cancer.

His mother, Victory Shaver, and Brenda's mum Mildred Tindell, died of cancer as well.

And on New Year's Eve 2000, his guitar-slinging son Eddy, died of a heroin overdose in a motel at the edge of Waco.

Billy Joe wed nurse Wanda Lynn Canady on September 26 in Corsicana, Texas, in a private service performed by uncle - Rev. Bill Honea.

Shaver was engaged to another hospice nurse, Joanne Gray, 40, early this year, but she left him for an older man - a story he documents in There's No Fool Like an Old Fool.

He recently taped the theme song for Squidbillies - a new series on the Cartoon Network.

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