Junior Brown / Molly Simms @ Old Rock House, St. Louis, MO

Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
Covering live music in St. Louis is quite a gamble but at the Old Rock House, you always know what you’re gonna get:  great entertainment, the best in local acts, and as always, at least one colorful character in the audience.  Tonight, being no exception, as one of St. Louis’s rising musicians, Molly Simms warmed the stage for Junior Brown.  Molly wears many hats:  music teacher, band leader, solo artist, and writer of songs.  Her latest record, One Way Ticket, just received honorable mention as having the most spins in 2015 on KDHX radio.  Not too bad for an album that was just released in September.  With the soul of Big Mama Thornton and the sweetness of Bette Midler, Miss Simms offers a plate full for those that listen.

Some 20+ odd years ago, I discovered the music of Junior Brown.  So covering his show tonight was a must.  As mentioned before, I’m a fan of those that play stringed instruments and especially those that play with great dexterity.  Junior Brown most definitely has the latter covered.  His instrument of choice is called a “guit-steel”, a hybrid beast of an instrument that is part guitar and part steel guitar.  A roar of approval greets Junior before the first note is played, with a nod of his straw cowboy hat and an appreciative smile, this show is underway.  Seeing Junior live, one is quick to notice his lack of gadgets and gizmos on stage, for that matter, the whole band is stripped down.  A bass player with a stand up bass, a drummer with a snare and a cymbal, and Junior’s wife, Tanya Rae on acoustic guitar, produced a bigger sound than some heavy metal bands I’ve seen.  Junior glides easily through all of the old favorites, “Highway Patrol”, “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead”, and “Long Walk Back to San Antone”, all the while working every knob and switch on the guit-steel.  With chops like his, it’s hard not to show them off.  His flourishes of jazz, rock, and country licks are subtly mixed in but very attention grabbing when heard live.  Fans of Junior, musicians in training, and those that just like good music stood slack jawed after the 80-minute set.  Thanks to Junior Brown’s management allowing MTC access to this show and our friends at Old Rock House for hosting this fine show.  Photos of the show are below:

Molly Simms
Junior Brown
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Junior Brown / Molly Simms @ Old Rock House, St. Louis, MO Junior Brown / Molly Simms @ Old Rock House, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on December 23, 2015 Rating: 5
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