Friday, October 9, 2009

Junior Brown: My Wife Thinks You're Dead

It’s Fun Friday and today we cross the tracks to the country side of the spectrum with Junior Brown’s 1995 recording of “My Wife Thinks You're Dead.” This song peaked at 68 on Billboard's Country charts. 

I first heard Jamieson “Junior” Brown on West Virginia Public Radio’s Mountain Stage a number of years ago. One of the first things that attracted me to Brown’s music was his unique voice coupled with his humorous lyrics. But you don’t have to listen to very much of Brown’s music to realize that he is a talented guitarist and lap steel guitarist.

Live Version

The instrument that Brown plays is a custom built axe of his own design. The Guitsteel is a double neck instrument that looks like fraternal conjoined twins. Brown thought, “there are double neck guitars and double neck steels, what about a double neck with one of each.” The guitar rests on a stand to make changing between instruments easier. The steel slide fits into a pocket in the upper guitar neck. He is a master of both and that is evident immediately.

Regarding the video, the ex-girlfriend is played by Gwendolyn Gillingham-McIlvaine who measures at 6’7”. It adds to the comedic effect of the song when she stands next the much shorter Brown. The wife in the video is played Brown's actual wife, Tanya Rae Brown, who also supplies the rhythm guitar for his band.

While Brown is branded as a country artist and called the “Hillbilly Hendrix,” his musical influences go beyond the cowboy hat. The following cut represents Browns acumen in sounding exactly like the late Jimi Hendrix.

Here’s Junior Brown doing “Foxy Lady.”

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