Junior Brown, Warren Hood

Like the bottle cap or happy hour, seems Junior Brown's been with us forever. A talented guitarist with a voice booming enough for fracking, in '85 he hired Michael Stevens to create the "guit-steel," an idea Brown conceived several years earlier. The combination six-string/lap steel may have taken some practice, but Brown was out playing it the first night he got it. The one-of-a-kind instrument attracted plenty of attention when Brown led the house band at Austin's famous Continental Club, and by 1990 he had a record deal. Over the next 14 years he'd release a half-dozen studio albums spanning the spectrum from surf and Hawaiian guitar to blues, country and Western swing. Never a big fan of "go home, get drunk, kick the dog and cheat on your wife," Brown developed a wry, lighthearted style. It's epitomized by songs like "My Baby Don't Dance To Nothing But Ernest Tubbs," and his signature track, relating an encounter with a former flame on the lam from the law, "My Wife Thinks You're Dead." He's said to be working on ending the seven-year gap since his last studio album, saying "sometimes it takes a while to get around to it."

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