Volume Ten

Junior Brown has been working his Ernest-Tubb-on-acid schtick for more than 20 years now, and somehow it still works. And why shouldn’t it? The guy is a world-class instrumentalist who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he’s got a knack for composing songs about contemporary life that sound like they were written 50 years ago. Volume 10 is a six-song EP that boils his essence down to a fun-sized, 20-minute package. “Hang Up and Drive” is the key track here, a classic country tune that deals with women who drive while on their cell phones. That’s right, women; apparently Junior doesn’t think dudes talking on their cell phones cause problems, just the ladies. That admittedly misogynistic bum note aside, though, the song is quick, clever and undeniably fun — and jam-packed with virtuoso picking. In fact, all the songs here feature jaw-dropping guitar playing. The other four songs with lyrics don’t quite connect like “Hang Up and Drive,” but the set’s only instrumental and final track, “Almost to Tulsa,” is a ripping jazzy number highlighting Brown’s truly awe-inspiring instrumental chops. Simply put, if you like Junior, get this. It’s got everything you want to hear from him. And if you’ve never heard him, this is as good a place to start as any of his records. — GREG ELLIS

LSM-GetItNow-large copy