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George Taylor: TroubleTown

C. Michael Bailey By

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On George Taylor's second recording, Rain or Shine (Self Produced, 2014), the guitarist looked oddly like a square accountant. On his first recording, TroubleTown he looks like Texas surfer cleaned up in a blue blazer. On both recordings, Taylor plays some of the freshest throw-back Americana being played. Touted as a "Blues musician," and, while he does play the blues, he is not defined by them. Traditional country & western, folk, and Roy Orbison inform his music as much as Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson.

Speaking of Roy Orbison, George's "Carry Me Back" could have been out of that yodeling Texan's songbook, with the the guitars overdriven with Hugo Haggie's Hammond B3 slurring in the background. "Raining and Cold" uses a similar recipe, harkening to the late '40s or early '50s. Taylor's voice contains enough welcome midwestern dust to be believable and welcome. There is also something very contemporary about Taylor's song structures that make them vital today. He has a good ear for the hook and an immediately understandable guitar style.

The title cut comes off like a '70s rock ballad played in the fidelity of the 1950s. Taylor favors a slightly muddy background like that perfected on the Rolling Stones' Exile on Mainstreet (Rolling Stones, 1972). Taylor is adept with that high East Texas sound on "Till It Hurts." That said, the spirit of Roy Orbison looms large on this recording, and that is okay. What better place to start.

Track Listing: Carry Me Back; Cowboy State of Mind; Lovin' Around; Raining & Cold; TroubleTown; Feel Me Breathe; Better Than Time.

Personnel: George Taylor: guitars, vocals; Miguel Urbiztondo: drums; Hugo Haggie: bass, Hammond B3, Fender Rhodes; Alam Weatherhead: electric guitar.

Title: TroubleTown | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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