JUNE 7

Junior Brown’s album covers are hardly original; they’re usually photos of Brown himself wearing a white stetson, fingering his unusual double-barreled guitar/steel guitar combo, seated in front of a forlorn-looking abandoned car or truck (as above, minus the truck). But his tunes are a thing to behold: Quirky country ballads, sung in a mellifluous deadpan, that almost never take themselves too seriously. (The exceptions being a couple of earnest, folky protest songs from his early album, 12 Shades of Brown.) Sometimes Brown tries wordplay, as in “Holding Pattern,” a lost-love tale explained though a hilarious airplane-airport metaphor, or “Venom Wearin’ Denim,” a pun-filled yarn about a bluejean-clad seductress. At other times, Brown sings absurdist narratives such as “(You’re Wanted by the Police and) My Wife Thinks You’re Dead” or “Joe the Singing Janitor.” In all, he’s kind of a Tom T. Hall for grown-ups. But Brown can also rock impressively: He wound up his 1996 album, Semi-Crazy, with an instrumental jam of surf songs, including the rollicking “Secret Agent Man,” whose vocal version recently got an additional boost thanks to Austin Powers. See Brown perform with R.B. Morris at 8:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3901 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $16.50. (703) 549-5919. (Louis Jacobson)

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