He dresses in sharp suits and high brimmed cowboy hats and, by the look of it, you’d reckon he cranks out some serious country. Think again. Junior Brown is a musical mixed bag whose style is hard to pin down. True, at the core is country rooted in 50s and 60s classics and early Western swing, but Brown layers it with dashes of rock, blues and other styles delivering smokin’ rock-guitar licks and hardcore honky-tonk effortlessly.
Compared to Jimi Hendrix on a regular basis, Brown wails on an instrument of his own creation – the guit-steel, a double-necked, cherry red, combination electric and steel guitar affectionately nicknamed Big Red. With his trusty Big Red in tow, the uncannily talented guitarist melds country with surf, rock, rootsy Southern-flavored tunes and just about anything else his whim decides to throw into the mix.
His songs runs the gamut in styles, as well as subject matter, covering tributes to truck drivers and janitors, a man coping with the late-night habits of his hard-partying wife, surf instrumentals and a saga about the untimely return of an old flame. All this is further enhanced by Brown’s deep baritone voice and utilizes lyrics that are sometimes a bit tongue-in-cheek and often showcase Brown’s sense of humor.
“There’s definitely a comedic part to some of my songs,” he says, but is quick to point out that is only one facet of his music.
Regardless, Brown tries to keep the raw edge in his music by giving it a lot of feeling, writing more about situations and telling stories through his music.
“I try to avoid writing about subjects that are spiritually poisonous and present myself in a way that’s not alienating to anybody,” he says. “It’s the sincerity of the singer and what he’s singing about. If you don’t have that, you don’t have anything.”
Musically, his modus operandi is to take ideas other people have used and present them in a new, fresh way. For Brown, as long as you can stay original and stay sincere, that’s all that counts.
“People want to see something more unpredictable and more creative. And, that’s what I’m trying to do,” he says.
Junior Brown is a unique pioneer, an original through and through whose appeal runs the spectrum. Country and non-country fans alike embrace his music. Brown likes to keep them on their toes, continually throwing in something new that surprises them. His music combines the soul of country and the spirit of rock ‘n’ roll with an added wild streak.
“I enjoy music, and what I do onstage is about as wild as I get,” he says.
And, for Brown, it gets pretty wild.
Junior Brown plays the Crystal Bay Club on June 21 at 9 p.m. For more show information, visit crystalbayclubcasino.com. For more information on the Junior Brown, visit juniorbrown.com.
Friday, June 21 | 9 p.m. | $20 advance/$25 day of show | 21 & older | Crystal Bay Club | Crystal Bay, Nev.