Down Home Chrome showcases Junior Brown's combination of clever Southwestern songcraft and blazing musicianship.
If you think Junior had a tendency toward being pretty weird when he was being normal, wait 'til you hear him being weird. With its overabundance of '60s blues-rock guitar gimmicks, his awkwardly Xeroxed Hendrix
vocals on "Foxy Lady," the lounge schlock of "You Inspire Me," a pun-filled story song ("Two Rons Don't Make It Right") that's absurd even by his usual standards, and a rampant misogyny that grows tedious even if it's meant to be funny, this album has its share of lapses. But when the man just bears down and plays it right on his guit-steel, as he does on "Hill Country Hot Rod Man" and the Chicago-style "Monkey Wrench Blues," he wipes the slate clean again. Though perhaps a couple notches below his best work, this'll still satisfy Brown's established fans. --John Morthland