Thursday, September 18, 2014

Junior Brown - Guit With It

I've gotten several Junior Brown CDs since I discovered him in the last couple of years and I'm surprised that I have only written about his greatest hits package. There are some overlapping songs on all of the ones that I have, I believe, but all also have some other great numbers making each one worthwhile. Since he is making his first visit to Las Vegas since I found out about him, I pulled this one out again.

As I said previously, Junior is one of the best and most exciting guitarists that I have heard in recent times - in fact, some have called him the Hendrix of country, which I don't necessarily disagree with. This is a very strong outing - maybe the best of the few that I own.

This starts out with a cool, traditional-sounding original "Doin' What Comes Easy to a Fool", which shows off his skills on his guit-steel, with sweet lap steel sounds mixed with his Tele-pickin' - both pretty damn exceptional. This is a truly well-written tune, as well - and not as goofy as country - and Junior - can get sometimes. The Red Simpson song, "Highway Patrol" is up next - a bit corny, but well done with some more fantastic fingerin'. He does a sweet, sad ballad as a duet with his wife, Tanya Rae, in "So Close Yet So Far Away" and then pulls out Hank Garland's "Sugarfoot Rag" as a mind-bogglin', bluegrass-pickin' instrumental - crazy good - and he throws in a sly hat-tip to Hendrix at the end!

I know that "My Wife Thinks You're Dead" was a hit for Junior, but, while good and humorous, it is a bit over-the-top for me (though the video is pretty cool). He rocks it up, country style, for "You Didn't Have to Go All the Way" (some fun lyrics and, of course, great playing here) and combines humor and sadness in "Party Lights" - clever concept. "Names and Addresses" sounds particularly old-timey and mellow-y swingin', and "Still Life With Rose" is a mid-tempo number with excellent playing and a witty tag-line "still life with rose is better than any life I had with you". He stays in the same vein for "Holding Pattern" and then blows minds with phenomenal playing in "Guit-Steel Blues", where he again references Jimi (a couple of times) before going off into his own wild ride! His playing here literally sends chills down my spine and makes my hairs stand on end - incredible and innovative and just damn good! If this was the only song of his I ever heard, I would want to see him - too cool. Not much could follow that, except a fine, old-style acoustic blues with yodeling, "The Gal From Oklahoma", which shows off another side of the man.

Really solid all the way through here - for lovers of real country (not bland, modern-day crap) and amazing guitar playing!