Home Read Classic Album Review: Junior Brown | Mixed Bag

Classic Album Review: Junior Brown | Mixed Bag

The twangmeister singer-guitarist's latest offering lives up to its name, sadly.  


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


You can’t complain about Junior Brown’s playing: Between his chicken-pickin’ twang and sizzling guit-steel slide work, he’s one of the finest fretmen in Nashville.

It’s hard to quibble about his singing: OK, Brown’s sipping-whiskey baritone isn’t exactly a thing of beauty, but it fits his downhome roadhouse style like a 10-gallon Stetson. And hell, there’s nothing wrong with his set list, which ranges from Elvis classics (Guitar Man) and country swing (Ain’t Gonna Work Today) to blues (Kansas City Blues) and even Russian balalika-twang (Cagey Bea — say it aloud). So why is his sixth CD Mixed Bag such a mixed blessing? Partly, it’s that the varied set list never really settles down enough to grab you. Also, despite the constant smirk in his voice and fire on his fingertips, Junior’s heart doesn’t really seem to be in these songs. But mostly, it’s because there’s no lick, no growl, no trick in these dozen cuts you haven’t heard Brown do 10 times already. Oh well, at least you can’t complain about being misled by the title.