Junior Brown with his guit-steel at Antone's in Austin, TX (2006)
|Birth name||Jamieson Brown|
June 12, 1952 |
Cottonwood, Arizona, US
|Genres||Texas country, Neotraditional country, Progressive country, Americana|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, singer-songwriter, actor|
|Instruments||Electric guitar, lap steel guitar|
|Associated acts||Hank Thompson|
|"Guit-steel" double-neck guitar|
Jamieson "Junior" Brown (born June 12, 1952) is an American country guitarist and singer. He has released nine studio albums in his career, and has charted twice on the Billboard country singles charts. Brown's signature instrument is the "guit-steel" double neck guitar, a hybrid of electric guitar and lap steel guitar.
Life and career
Brown was born in Cottonwood, Arizona. He first learned to play piano from his father (Samuel Emmons Brown Jr) "before I could talk". His music career began in the 1960s, and he worked through that decade and the next singing and playing pedal steel and guitar for groups such as The Last Mile Ramblers, Dusty Drapes and the Dusters and Asleep at the Wheel while developing his guitar skills. By the mid-1980s he was teaching guitar at the Hank Thompson School of Country Music at Rogers State University, in Claremore, Oklahoma.
In 1985, Brown invented a double-neck guitar, with some assistance from Michael Stevens. Brown called the instrument his "guit-steel". When performing, Brown plays the guitar by standing behind it, while it rests on a small music stand. The top neck on the guit-steel is a traditional six-string guitar, while the lower neck is a full-size lap steel guitar for slide playing. Brown has two guit-steels for recording and live work. The original instrument, dubbed "Old Yeller", has as its standard six-string guitar portion the neck and pickups from Brown's previous stage guitar, a Fender Bullet. The second guit-steel, named "Big Red", has a neck laser-copied from the Bullet neck; but in addition to electric guitar pickups, both the standard and lap-steel necks use identical Sho-Bud lap-steel pickups. There is a pocket in the upper bout of the guitar to hold the slide bar when it is not in use. Brown also commissioned a "pedal guit-steel" which adds pedals to the instrument for more musical control. Brown has stated that the invention of the guit-steel was always a matter of convenience so that he could play both lap steel and lead guitar during live performances and not directly motivated by a desire to be a "one man band."
Brown quickly became a local success in Austin, Texas, as the house band at the Continental Club. His debut album was 1990's 12 Shades of Brown, released by the British Demone Records; it was re-released in 1993 on Curb Records in the U.S., followed by Guit with It. In 1995, Brown released Semi Crazy, and followed it with 1997's Long Walk Back.
In 1996, Brown was featured on the Beach Boys' now out-of-print album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1 performing a cover of their 1962 hit "409". The song features Brown playing guitar and singing lead with the Beach Boys singing harmonies and backing vocals.
Brown appeared in the music video for "Honky Tonk Song" by George Jones in 1996 and also won the CMA Country Music Video of the Year award that year for his video, "My Wife Thinks You're Dead," which featured 6-foot-7-inch Gwendolyn Gillingham.
Brown's music has been showcased on various TV shows and movie soundtracks, including Me, Myself and Irene, SpongeBob SquarePants and the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard remake, in which he also played the narrator.
Although Brown plays such neotraditional country styles as honky-tonk, Western swing, etc., few of his performances will finish without some blues and Tex-Mex tunes playing as well as surf rock instrumentals.
Beginning in August 2006 Brown joined Webb Wilder's tour of American minor league baseball stadiums.
In April 2008, Brown shot three pilot episodes of a country music program modeled after programs from the early 60s, in which Brown will play with a house band as well as guests as host of the show.
On October 12, 2012, Junior finally released his new EP, Volume 10. Containing six new songs, Volume 10 is available on Junior's website and digitally on Amazon.com.
AMC previewed the video of his new song "Better Call Saul", on October 5, 2014.
|US Country||US Heat|
|1984||The Last Mile Ramblers – While They Last!||—||—|
|1990||12 Shades of Brown||—||—|
|1993||Guit with It||—||—|
|1995||Junior High (EP)||48||26|
|1998||Long Walk Back||34||19|
|2004||Down Home Chrome||73||—|
|2005||Live at the Continental Club: The Austin Experience||—||—|
|1993||"Highway Patrol"||73||Guit with It|
|1995||"My Wife Thinks You're Dead"||68|
|1996||"Venom Wearin' Denim"||—||Semi Crazy|
|"I Hung It Up"||—|
|1997||"Gotta Sell Them Chickens" (w/ Hank Thompson)||—||Real Thing (Hank Thompson album)|
|1993||"Highway Patrol"||Roger Pistole|
|1995||"My Wife Thinks You're Dead"||Michael McNamara|
|"Sugarfoot Rag"||Roger Pistole|
|1996||"Venom Wearin' Denim"||Michael McNamara|
|"I Hung It Up"|
|1997||"Gotta Sell Them Chickens" (w/ Hank Thompson)||Jim Gerik|
- "JR Brown (GuitSteel & Vocals)". Juniorbrown.com. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
- "Today in history". ABC News. Associated Press. June 12, 2014.
- Junior Brown Bio | Junior Brown Career | CMT
- Stevens Guitars Guit-Steel page
- interview on The Americana Music Show, episode 115, released November 26, 2012
- "Off the Record – Music". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 65. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.