Music » Playing Around

Playing Around: Junior Brown

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Simply stated, Junior Brown is one of the most proficient and addictive performers around. A white guy from rural Indiana, Brown is a simple country boy who has seemingly inherited the soul of the late guitar god Jimi Hendrix.

Not that Junior is just another tie-dyed, acid-droppin' rock star steeped in psychedelia -- far from it. He wears a white hat, and there are often arrows embroidered onto the breast of his jackets. He fears God and the law. He counts among his idols Ernest Tubb, Earl Scruggs and Hank Williams. His music, however, is a blend of the honky-tonk and old-fashioned country-western of his heroes, imbued with swing, rock and, recently, surf.

Usual comparisons to Hendrix stem from Brown's amazing instrumental talent. Junior plays the guit-steel, a stringed instrument of his own creation. Half electric guitar, half lap-steel, Brown props it up on a special stand and alternates playing from one side to the other. Fast-paced and highly intricate compositions are a staple of his repertoire, and the skill with which they are played makes even the most arrogant of guitar players gawk in amazement as Brown's fingers vanish in a blur of talent.

Add to this Junior's deep drawling baritone, pitched like a diesel rig changing gears on an incline. Brown writes his own songs, and the words are often as humorous and entertaining as the music itself. Accompanying Junior is his wife, the lovely Miss Tanya Rae, who plays rhythm guitar and has a voice as sweet and rich as molasses. All told, an opportunity to see Junior Brown live is not one that should be easily passed up. He'll be playing at the Colorado Music Hall on Thursday night. Tickets are $15; call 447-9797.

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