There’s been a big buzz and a wealth of support for Anthony Taylor’s debut album and having keenly watched his progress via his live show Youtube posts over the last few years it’s not hard to see why. Taylor has a powerful and distinctive country voice, formidable guitar skills and a commanding live presence that should see him easily becoming a force to be reckoned with in Australia’s country music scene. Music Man, lovingly produced by bassist/producer Simon Johnson kicks off in true honky tonk style with Lane Turner’s rollicking ‘Outside Looking In’ and continues to take us on a heartfelt and distinctly old school country music journey, ably assisted with class and style by a fine selection of Aussie players and singers. Johnson and Taylor have thankfully eschewed Nashville’s tiresome pop country contrivances for a genuine and heartfelt traditional country approach that has more in common with Alan Jackson, George Strait, Garth Brooks and our own Troy Cassar-Daley than the majority of acts currently found on mainstream country charts. The songs, a solid collection from local writers Jayson Peters/Peta Chera Peters, Luke Austen, Jake Sinclair and a selection of Nashville storytellers cover a variety of traditional country styles that any self respecting Merle Haggard fan might relate to and highlight a feast of hot picking by Taylor alongside our own Glen Hannah, Rick Gough and the mighty Michel Rose on pedal steel. Also featured is Austin’s much loved honky tonker Redd Volkaert and Diamond Rio’s amazing Jimmy Olander, so along with Taylor’s impressive vocal command, Music Man is also a real treat for fans of hot country pickin’. Kim Cheshire