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Published: 2004/09/30
by Chris Gardner

Down Home Chrome – Junior Brown

Telarc Records 83612
If you are familiar with Junior Brown, know that this disc does exactly what
you expect it to do and nothing more. If you are unfamiliar with the
honky-tonkin’, Texas swingin’, two-necked guitar wreckin’ caricature, here’s
a quick lesson.
Junior Brown is a very large Ernest Tubbs fan (yeah, that’s a bad tall man
joke), and he updates the Tubbs sound on his two-necked
innovation/abomination. His custom rig combines a six-string with lap
steel, and he plays the snot out of it. He sings in a rich, clean, twangy
baritone. It’s kinda nice. He isn’t afraid of a ham-fisted joke, a painful
pun, or a predictable cliche. In "Where Has All the Money Gone", he
wonders, "did she break the little nest egg that I was sittin’ on," and
complains that, "the only green she left me is out in my front lawn."
He is
enamored with road racers, as the title and "Hill Country Hot Rod Man" will
attest. He’s well versed in classic country, which he channels in the
mostly-spoken word "Jimmy Jones," chronicling the life of a roamer who
wanders away to war, wanders away from the platoon, discovers an ambush
plot, and martyrs himself as he delivers the message (which of course saves
the entire platoon). He isn’t afraid to go a little loungy on you. He
can’t resist bombastic rock and roll guitar. Here, he attacks "Foxy Lady" a
bit too vigorously. Finally, his hot rod often lacks breaks. The closer, a
slow blues that’s just a little too clean, sprawls across ten indulgent
With minute variation, you can glean this impression from any of Junior’s
albums, which tells you one of two things. Either he’s got a good thing
going and has no intention of changing lanes now, or the rubber on his tires
is wearing out as he blazes up and down the same old roads.

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