Tony "Guitar Man" Taylor‘s Mountain Stage
Hardly a day goes by that I don't see—make that hear—Tony "Guitar Man" Taylor at Stone Mountain. A quick Google search quickly reveals that Tony's a favorite for tourists and regulars alike. I’m certainly a fan. Clips of the fit 60 year-old (62 as of 2016) strumming and crooning over the years (more often than not shirtless or in a tank top) grace YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, and Tumblr. It’s honestly hard to imagine a pre-Tony era at the mountain, but the charismatic troubadour actually only started coming in the early ‘90s, back when he used to practice guitar in the woods in the dark of night. Divorced when his only son was 14 months old, Tony’s been sober for 33 years (35 years as of 2016) and is forthcoming about the youthful lawbreaking that found him “doing life on an installment plan.” A total character, he was even once the editor of the prison newspaper. For the last couple of decades, though, there’s hardly been a freer place for him to be than serenading hikers with well-known covers in the bright light of day from his very own mountain stage. Once, when I asked him what his best song was, he deadpanned, "I always like the one I just learned." And he added with a drawl, "If I sound bad, you need to clean your ears." Whenever I encounter Tony, I try to record new songs, and I practically have enough tracks now for a live album. There's really nothing that troubadour of the mountain Tony Taylor can't play.