Brown, Junior [Jamieson ]
- Jason Mellard
(b Cottonwood, AZ, June 12, 1952). American country guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Junior Brown is simultaneously one of country music’s most innovative instrumentalists and devoted traditionalists. Born in Arizona and raised in Indiana, Brown counts Ernest Tubb’s television show as his earliest influence, and his musical style reflects that debt. He began performing in roadhouse bands in New Mexico, California, and Texas during the 1960s and 70s before settling for a period at the Hank Thompson School of Country Music in Claremore, Oklahoma. There, Brown not only worked with steel guitarist Leon McAuliffe, but also instructed his longest musical collaborator, future wife Tanya Rae. In the 1980s, Brown moved to Austin, Texas, becoming involved in the scene with which he is most closely associated and playing in the bands Rank and File, Asleep at the Wheel, and Alvin Crow’s Pleasant Valley Boys. In 1985, Brown invented his signature instrument, the “guit-steel,” a double-necked guitar that combines the traditional six-string guitar with an eight-string lap-steel. Brown moves between the two in performance and recordings, in the process creating a balance between classic honky-tonk and rock stylistics perhaps best demonstrated in the Jimi-Hendrix-style phrases with which Brown concludes his version of Hank Garland’s “Sugarfoot Rag.” Brown’s first two records, ...