Although synonomous with his unique double-fretted “guit-steel” instrument, Texan Junior Brown has been active in country music circles since the late 1960s. The so-called “Hendrix of Twang” (with a passing resemblance to Vic Reeves) was born today in 1952.
Country singer/guitarist Jamieson Brown aka Junior Brown was born in Grandview, Texas, USA. Raised in Indiana and later living in New Mexico, Junior Brown graduated from playing piano to the guitar, earning a living playing cover versions in country bar bands around Santa Fe and Albuquerque during the late 1960s.
1973 found “JB” playing lead guitar for The Last Mile Ramblers, who began adding elements of both bluegrass and Western Swing to their sound and became popular in Austin. Moving on to Boulder, Colorado he played with Steve Swenson’s band, aka Dusty Drapes and the Dusters – where he began using the moniker, “Junior.”
Parting company with Swenson in 1979 and relocating to Austin, Brown claims that the following year saw him first conceive of what became a “guit-steel” – a single instrument incorporating both electric and steel guitars.
From notion to a fully-fledged reality took five years, with Brown debuting a custom-built design at a gig with Vince Gill in 1985 – the same year that he appeared on Asleep At The Wheel’s comeback album, “Pasture Prime”.Working alongside Leon McAulliffe (famed steel guitarist f0r Bob Wills) at Oklahoma’s Hank Thompson School of Country Music, Brown met and married one of his students - Tanya Rae.
The couple would return to Austin and supply rhythm guitar and backing vocals in Brown’s band, who gained a regular slot at the Continental Club and recorded their debut album “12 Shades of Brown” in 1993 (a decade after Brown’s unsuccessful first single).
Since then Brown’s increasingly eclectic blend of Western Swing, honky tonk, rockabilly, surf, rock, blues and even Hawaiian guitar has propelled him to success via albums including, “Semi Crazy”, “The Long Walk Back” and “Down Home Chrome”. Gaining popularity in Europe, he even appeared with Mrs Brown in a TV ad for the Gap clothing store.
Despite sharing stages with the likes of Bob Dylan and Chris Isaak and guesting on the children’s cartoon Spongebob Squarepants, at heart Brown remains a country man – taking his cue from the great Ernest Tubb, who once advised him to “Keep it country, son.” Wise words.
Check out and purchase Kathleen Macinnes CDs from our e-shop, Propermusic.com by clicking on the logo below:
And here’s some footage of Junior in action: