Music Current Choice

Man of guit-steel

Junior Brown tends to downplay his instrumental prowess. The veteran country maverick usually suggests that his technical skill is ordinary, and it’s merely the energy he brings to a performance that distinguishes him from the countless journeymen guitarists on the club circuit at a given time.

Chalk that up to Brown’s innate humility, because little about the way this transplanted Texan works his ax is ordinary. For one thing, that ax itself — a double-necked combination of standard and steel guitar known as a guit-steel — is Brown’s creation, a hybrid that would flummox most rock hotshots. For another, his rapid-fire licks demonstrate that he’s taken the best elements of Bob Wills and Jimi Hendrix and brought them together in the service of honky-tonk, surf, and blues material.

Current Choice

Junior Brown

Fri, Mar 3

Jack’s Patio
Bar & Grill
2950 Thousand Oaks

Brown’s virtuosity alone would be enough to make him a fascinating curiosity, but he’s also demonstrated a penchant for clever wordplay (some detractors would argue that it’s pseudo-clever wordplay) and blue-collar solidarity, always put across with a deadpan baritone. His batting average may have slipped a bit over the years, but any catalog that includes “My Baby Don’t Dance To Nothing But Ernest Tubb,” “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead,” and “Highway Patrol” (featured over the opening credits of Me, Myself & Irene) is worthy of mention alongside the unsung heroes of country music.

By Gilbert Garcia