How Junior Brown Beat Out Jerry Reed to Narrate the Dukes of Hazzard
With his handmade "guit-steel" guitar and deep, country drawl, Junior Brown makes a hell of an impression. Over the course of four decades, Brown has taken his blues-inspired honky tonk across the nation and around the world, thrilling fans of honest and well crafted roots music. In truth, Brown is one of a very select group of artists who has as great instrumental skills as he does songwriting chops.
Speaking from a tour stop in Canada and in anticipation of playing Saturday night at the Kessler Theater, Brown spoke with DC9 about playing with Bob Dylan, narrating The Dukes of Hazzard and scoring Spongebob Squarepants.
Are you getting any free healthcare while you are in Canada?
[Laughs] No, just hanging in there the best I can. I enjoy coming up and getting away from the hot weather once in a while. We had a pretty hot summer with a lot of chiggers. There are no chiggers up here.
Is there any difference between Canadian and American audiences?
No, they are the same. I've played in Canada many times over the years. I first came here in the early 80's. I've been coming up to this country for a long time.
Do you have a strong following there?
Yes, they are singing the words to my songs. They are requesting all my songs. Last night, I ended up playing quite a bit over my time just taking the requests. It's great because you don't know until you get on stage whether the crowd knows who you are or not. When they are singing your songs, you know they are fans. That's a good feeling to have.
You don't think about Canada being a haven for roots music.
It is. There are certain little pockets that have interests in country bands and blues bands.
Weren't you originally from Indiana?
No, I was born in Arizona, but my parents quickly moved to Indiana. My earliest memories were in Indiana.
Do you still reside in Austin?
No, I am all over the place. I have places everywhere. I don't know how many homes I've got now.
Where do you spend the most time?
Right now, Missouri; I am out in the woods.
While you were in Austin, the city was going through some big changes. Were those changes for the better?
Well, half of California moved there and brought the traffic and the attitude with them. That didn't help much, but in a lot of ways the city became very successful and rich. I remember when it was just a little college and music town. You can't but get nostalgic about those days.
You are going to be playing the Kessler Theater, one of Dallas' best sounding venues.
I always love playing the Kessler because it's in a nice, old area of Dallas, an area that has come back to life in a very nice way. They have fixed up the building so nicely and it has great acoustics. There is always a great crowd there. Dallas has always been one of our best audiences. I am not just saying that. I really mean it. I remember playing the Three Teardrops Tavern. We played the one in Deep Ellum, the Sons of Hermann Hall. We've always had a good following in Dallas. We've played the Granada and that place has great sound as well. I like the older theaters. They were built better. The newer theaters were built for a newer sound. Back then, they hired acousticians and there was a real technique to it.