Junior Brown

Junior Brown talks about the triple meaning behind the name of Volume Ten, his new “pedal guit-steel”, and his tribute to Buddy Charleton.

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Junior Brown at cats cradle chapel hill 2011 by Jessica Berkowitz

Junior Brown

Interview Recap

Calvin introduces Junior Brown as the poster child of Austin music because he hits all of the musical styles you think of when you think of Texas music, plus a few of is own. He’s a regular at the Continental club on South Congress street. Junior Brown says he plays the Continental Club once or twice a month at least. Calvin says that Junior Brown was doing mashups before mashups were cool.

Junior Brown talks about doing the baseball stadium tour with Dylan a couple of years back. He says he had a good time but he doesn’t remember much about it. He says he got all the show posters and a gold watch, but the shows were not the best shows acoustically because there were outdoor shows.

Junior Brown talks about his new release, Volume Ten. He says that 5 of the 6 songs are originals from him. The sixth song is an instrumental cover and tribute to Buddy Charleton. He took a steel guitar song and added a piano riff to it and wild guitar solos and that’s their jam song for the album.

Junior Brown sets up “Hang Up And Drive.” He says in a good song the title says it all.

[Calvin plays "Hang Up And Drive" from Volume Ten by Junior Brown."]

Calvin says that song is like a PSA of the day.

Calvin asks Junior Brown about how he maintains his deep baritone voice. Junior Brown tells us the secret food he eats for his voice. He says he’s looking to follow in Ray Price’s foot steps because his voice keeps getting better and better. He says that as you get older your vocal cords shrink. But he says the trick is to keep using them and keep those muscles loose so the don’t stiffen up. He says Ray Price is 90 years old and still out on the road touring on his bus and playing gigs.

Junior Brown talks about the origin of his visual trademark, the double-necked “guit-steel.” He says that the he has always liked playing both steel guitar and lead guitar but on stage he can’t effectively unplug from one and plug into the other within one song. So that was the origin for combining the two into one instrument. Now all he has to do is flip a switch on the instrument. Junior Brown says that the guit-steel was always a matter of convenience and that on a studio album you’d never be able to tell from listening to the music whether he was using a stell guitar or the guit-steel. He also says he has a new instrument called “the pedal guit-steel” which we heard on “Hang Up And Drive.”

Junior Brown says he’s always played a variety of styles of music, especially due to being n dance bands over the years. “Trust Me” is a jazz standard sounding song which he says sounds even better live than on the studio album because when he plays it live he hams it up and adds lots more verses to it including a Bill Clinton verse.

[Calvin plays "Trust Me" from Volume Ten by Junior Brown.]

Junior Brown talks about the name of the album, Volume Ten. First of all he says this is his tenth album and he decided to put pictures of his other nine albums on the back cover has a tribute to the days when record labels would put pictures of other artists’ albums on the back side to try to get cross over sells. He also says he wore a “really loud suit which goes to volume ten” for the front cover of the album. Finally Volume Ten is indicative of the amplifier turned up to volume 10. So the album title has a triple meaning.

Junior Brown sets up “Almost To Tulsa.” He says it’s a song by a buddy of his and a steel guitar legend who recently passed away His name is Buddy Charleton. He plays with Ernest Tubbs for years and was key in developing “Western swing in overdrive” that they came up with in the early 60s. Junior Brown adapted it and added a bebop piano solo in it which he really likes.

[Calvin plays "Almost To Tulsa" from Volume Ten by Junior Brown.]

Junior Brown runs through the backing band. Tanya Rae Brown is on rhythm guitar. James Gwyn plays the drum. Jase Rathman, Jake Hooker, Spencer Starnes on bass. Danny Levin plays piano and Fiddle. Eric Hokkanen also plays fiddle.

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Rotation 335

  • Calla Lily Lady / The Longest Day Of The Year / Turn Into the Ground / 3:18
  • I’ll Get Off The Booze / Rich Mahan / Blame Bobby Bare / 2:56
  • Wish You Would Kiss Me / James Hand / Mighty Lonesome Man / 2:03
  • Pistol #69 / Leo Hull – The Texas Blues Machine / Bootleggin’ The Blues / 5:12
  • Dragon Reel / Mark Lucas / Uncle Bones / 2:40
  • Smoke ‘Em All / Colin Linden / Still Live / 3:42
  • Any Old Time / Billy Bratcher / In The Lobby / 3:29
  • Surf Demon #5 / Rosie Flores / Working Girl’s Guitar / 3:38

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The Americana Music Show is copyright 2012 by Taproot Media. The music and interviews in this episode are used with permission of the artists.

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About Calvin Powers

Calvin Powers is the host and producer of The Americana Music Show.

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