Junior Brown | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The term "new country" is, I'll admit, used pretty sloppily: It now describes everyone from metaphysical cowboys like Jimmie Dale Gilmore to antique warblers like Iris DeMent to rockers like Steve Earle. But think of it another way--as country music that isn't embarrassing--and it all fits into place. Latest submission is Junior Brown. This guy's very trad: rollicking two-steps, flashy steel guitar playing, unironic homages like "My Baby Don't Dance to Nothin' but Ernest Tubb," and that's about it, all delivered with unapologetic chops and a fairly malleable voice that ranges from a Johnny Cash basso to a George Jones-ish (I said "ish") tenor. He's not in country for the spangles or the fakery, just the honesty and the goofiness, and has proved it by hoofing along for more than 20 years. This is his first visit to Chicago; he'll be fronting a band with his unique "guit-steel" guitar, a double ax with one neck electric, one neck steel. Could be fun. There's no opening act. Friday, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 525-2508.

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