Rolling Stone - 6/13/96, p.863 Stars
- Good - "...[he's the] guitar hero with the honky tonk soul....the cologne of calculation doesn't cloud the overwhelming musical testimony that Brown isn't playing dress up."
Entertainment Weekly - 5/24/96, p.99
"...[Junior Brown] valiantly wave[s] the banner of unreconstructed honky-tonk music in the face of Nashville's current sameness....His voice--mellower than Ernest Tubb's, rougher than Ray Price's--is limited but genially dusty." - Rating: A-
Q - 8/96, p.1163 Stars
- Good - "...he sings even the silliest material with such heart-wrenching conviction and plays his 'guit-steel' with such drive and invention...that he succeeds in being as enjoyably believable as he is David Lynch-style weird..."
Option - 7-8/96, p.93
"...it doesn't get much more exciting or fun than Austin, TX, twangler Junior Brown....without question country's most incendiary picker..."
Musician - 7/96, p.86
"...Junior strikes the perfect balance of double-stops and double-meanings....shows Junior's sense of humor more than any tongue-in-cheek tour de force could. What other country artist would tip his Stetson to the Ventures, Chantays, and Johnny Rivers?..."
Personnel: Junior Brown (vocals, guitar, steel guitar); Red Simpson (vocals); Tanya Rae Brown (guitar, background vocals); Danny Levin (piano); Steve Layne (bass, background vocals); Tommy Lewis (drums).
Personnel: Junior Brown (vocals, guitar, steel guitar); Red Simpson (vocals); Danny Levin (piano).
Photographer: Se¤or McGuire.
Though the elements of Junior Brown's albums remain consistent from release to release, his remarkably high level of musicanship prevents things from ever becoming predictable or monotonous. Brown is a master of his self-invented instrument, the Guit-steel, a double-bodied instrument that's half Telecaster, half eight-string lap steel. He also plays plenty of hot guitar and steel throughout SEMI-CRAZY. In addition to his fiercely twangin' country, western swing, blues-rock and surf vocabulary, Brown has a commanding baritone voice that can go from crooning to gutsy depending on what will best serve his well-crafted, frequently wordplay-laden songwriting.
It's all Brown's show--the band is there to back up his triple-threat antics. For sheer energy alone check out "I Hung It Up," the squalling rave-up of a guy who's just discovered commitment five minutes ago; Brown's guitar rides the edge of feedback throughout. "I Want to Hear it From You," one of the album's few covers, is a serious ballad, as is "Parole Board." Listeners should be warned that it doesn't take much political correctness to be irked by Hoagy Carmichael's "Hong Kong Blues."