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Tony Lee - Album Review: Man on Mars

11 Apr 2022 // A review by roger.bowie

Tony Lee is a Man on Mars.

With a “here we go” Tony Lee’s band launch into a hootenanny rocking billy of an opening song which reminds me of the kind of frantic rhythm you might see and hear at Roberts Western World of a night, any night, on Broadway in Nashville. Replete with young maestros picking at speed and a big dusty country voice which might also be described as old fashioned in a down on the ranch kind of way. Retro.

Because that’s Tony Lee, a behatted and booted and kerchiefed cowboy from the heartland of the Waikato fresh off the paddock with dirt on his boots and in his voice and you can just taste it.

Might be Taking a Chance with this one but if you like your country big and ballady and chorused and laced with intermissions of rock, this is a genuine effort underpinned by a guitarist of particular merit.

This is Tony’s third album and he’s been at it for over twenty years now with some success across the Tasman including a single off this album charting in Tasmania, the cheeky devil claiming he Ain’t No Cowboy when he is.

The title track, Man on Mars builds off an acoustic base with an authentic electric rock riff and keyboard flourish. All the way to Mars on the back of a rocket ship of fast picking. But the standout track amongst consistently good songs is Angels in the Rain with its sweet guitar riff reminiscent of a Manic Street Preacher called Jimmy Lafave, which of course is highly incongruous but that’s the wonder of music. This is a complete country rock song and Tony’s voice travels from old fashioned to now. A gem of a song. And who is that on guitar?

The next song is also a beautiful one as well, at least that’s what it’s called, but after several lashings of this album (and we’re only halfway through) I’m seeing this guy with his band on a big country stage in a big stadium (or maybe a paddock) with a lot of revelry, hay bales, stomp, sweat and beer and maybe Jodi Direen.

And in this context retro country is a complement from an unashamedly Americana guy because there remains a place in country where they still play Lynyrd Skynyrd (I bet Tony does a swank version of Sweet Home (Waikato).

Reece Gielen is on very excellent guitar, Zac Cole on drums and Adrienne Bell (Bob) on bass

So if you like your Country Fun, then check out Tony Lee’s Man on Mars, and if you’re an old fashioned physical guy or gal go get the CD from JB Hi Fi

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Tony Lee

Tony Lee is a Alternative Country Rock artist from Hamilton. He has released 2 albums under his own name and is currently working on a third.

Tony Lee's debut solo album was Road Less Travelled. The album received high accolades in the press with critics loving Tony's 'wear your heart on your sleeve' approach to songwriting.

His music video for All That A Man Can Do has been internationally recognised, making the semi finals in the ISC (International Songwriting Competition) and getting nominated in the music video category at the Limelight Film awards in London. The video was produced by Neil Whitman who had made video's for Chris Rea and Robbie Williams.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tony Lee

Releases

Man On Mars
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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