With his high, reedy voice and all the fancy guitar picking he does on his debut album, Jedd Hughes brings to mind a young Ricky Skaggs. But Hughes, 22, is hardly a good ol' Kentucky boy. He is instead a product of Quorn, Australia, where he grew up listening to his dad's collection of Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins records. Judging from this pleasantly en-tertaining effort, Hughes has absorbed both the musical and lyrical essence of country music, even a world away from Nashville. "High Lonesome," for example,is as good as wistful, pining tunes get. Meanwhile, "The Only Girl in Town" is a happily chivalrous salute to the object of a young man's affections, and "I'll Keep Movin'" is a bluegrassy tune that gives Hughes a chance to flex his considerable guitar talents. He also does a respectable rendition of the Flying Burrito Brothers' "Luxury Liner." Australians'affinity for country music—a factor at least since Olivia Newton-John—isn't all that easy to explain. But however he came by his country calling, Hughes has it.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "The Only Girl in Town"