Junior Brown

Down Home Chrome
(Telarc)

Junior Brown is a country artist -- if you still think country means drinkin', cheatin' and hard-core honky-tonk music -- but his omnivorous musical appetite and monster chops defy easy categories. Down Home Chrome opens with "Little Rivi-Airhead," a Beach Boys-meets-Ernest Tubb rocker that also tips its cowboy hat to Chuck Berry. Other standouts include "Two Rons Don't Make Right," a punny bit of Texas swing about identical twins that lets Brown show off his steel chops; "You Inspire Me," a '30s-style love song that would make a great Tony Bennett cover; "Hill Country Hot Rod Man," a perfect blend of jumpin' jive and Texas swing; and "Let's Go Back," a sweet duet with his wife Tanya Rae that brings to mind the sentimental hits of Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. Brown also showcases his impressive fretwork on a cover of "Foxy Lady," a seven-minute workout that's both incendiary and laid-back, a contradiction that marks most of Brown's best tunes.

 
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