Junior Brown; March 9, 2012; Stoughton Opera House
I knew the name Junior Brown, but I couldn’t tell you one song he sang. Still, when my brother asked back in August if I wanted to see him at the Stoughton Opera House tonight, I said sure. The Stoughton Opera House is a beautiful room, located upstairs from the town’s city hall, and a great place to see a show. The town has been very supportive of the reinvigorated theater, renovated over the last decade, which has been booking an impressive and diverse line-up of acts for the last several years. There was a near capacity crowd in the seats tonight for the innovative guitar player.
Brown plays an interesting instrument. His “guit-steel” custom made guitar is electric guitar on top and slide guitar on the bottom. He rests it on a stand while he plays and switches between the two effortlessly, keeping his slide in a holder on top of the guitar. He is an impressive player to be sure, but he seldom shows off. All of his melodic acrobatics are in the name of the song. His songs for the most part are classic country fare, with more emphasis on the humor than on the tear-in-the-beer. Songs like “Highway Patrol” (which mines the same territory as the Bottle Rockets “Radar Gun”) and “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead” about a no-good ex (the title line is preceded by “You’re wanted by the police”) were obvious fan favorites. Nothing was too deep or thought provoking, but it was all entertaining and fun.
The focus was all on Brown for most of the night. With his country-boy charm and wicked playing, it was easy to forget there was anyone else on stage. Still his rhythm section, a constantly smiling bass player and a barely drinking age drummer playing a very minimal kit were essential to the songs. While Brown’s wife on acoustic guitar kept the melody while he riffed around it. Yes there were a few other things I would have liked to do tonight, but I was happy to be right where I was.