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You Tube Gold: Junior Brown

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One of America’s best kept musical secrets

Junior Brown At SummerStage
American Country musician Junior Brown (born Jamieson Brown) plays his hybrid instrument, a ‘guit-steel’ guitar, on stage at Central Park SummerStage, New York, New York, August 6, 1994.
Photo by Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

The great river of American music has thousands of tributaries and most of them converge on a guy named Junior Brown.

Brown gets classified as country which is fair because most of his music really is country, but a lot of it is something else entirely.

The son of a professor of musicology, Brown has gifts that are so unusual he had to design his own guitar. He says it came to him in a dream.

It’s part standard electric and part lap steel guitar and he can make it do things that are, frankly, freakish and illegal in a half-dozen states.

In this video he does his song called “Hung it Up” and you can clearly hear influences from a touch of Hendrix to Bill Haley and the Comets to Leon McAuliffe. At times he throws a little Dick Dale in to his show as well.

He’s a bit of a cult figure. Brown goes on stage with one stand up base, one snare drum and his wife on rhythm guitar. And then a tidal wave hits.

Sometimes he gets a little carried away with his country side and a bit too cornpone, but the man is, without question, a genius of the guitar. You could sit him down with anyone from Willie Dixon to Willie Nelson (a vastly underrated guitarist himself) and he could fit right in. He’s a tremendous talent and has never found a vast audience.