“You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone,” Billy Joe Shaver sang in his signature anthem “Live Forever.” The Texas songwriter died October 28th at 81 after suffering a stroke, immediately casting that lyric into stark reality. Just a few days prior, Jerry Jeff Walker died at 78 after a long bout with cancer. Both men were influential songwriters and personalities of the outlaw country movement and their deaths hit especially hard with those they influenced — including Ryan Bingham.
The songwriter-actor, who is currently shooting a new season of the TV ranching drama Yellowstone in Montana, paid tribute to the Texas country stalwarts with a somber, solo rendition of “Live Forever” on Instagram on Tuesday. “Lost a few more of my heroes over the past couple of weeks,” Bingham wrote, dedicating his performance to Shaver and Walker and paraphrasing a “Live Forever” lyric: “Just like the songs you leave behind you, you’re gonna live forever now.”
Shaver co-wrote the song with his guitarist son Eddy and recorded it for their 1993 album Tramp on Your Street. They cut it again for the acoustic, gospel-leaning album Victory five years later. Shaver recorded yet another version with Big & Rich for his 2005 album The Real Deal and filmed a video with the duo. (Eddy Shaver died in 2000.)
Bingham released his last album, American Love Song, in 2019. Since quarantine began in the spring, he’s been regularly performing his own songs and covers in his online video series the Cantina Sessions. It’s a trend he’s continued while on location in Montana, recently posting versions of Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Tom Petty’s “Yer So Bad,” and John Lennon’s “Imagine.”