This week I hearken back to the sultry summer of 1997, when a most excellent work chum of mine who has always displayed superlative [musical] judgment, sat me down at lunchtime and raved on about a new singer she was super excited about: Mr.- Jonny Lang - and specifically, the album Lie to Me . I listened that very evening (being me) – and was extremely impressed. The voice was sexy. Rough. Vulnerable. Very different. Young but somehow bourbon-infused in a world weary sort of way. I sought my friend out the very next day to tell her what a great album I thought this was, how much I appreciated her putting me on to Jonny. But had I seen the liner notes, the cover, she pressed? (Jonny is as cute as a bouton then and now …) Well of course I had and you know how girls talk. But when we really got into comparing notes – she revealed with two bright spots of red on her cheeks that he was, well, only fifteen years old at the time …
Unclean thoughts aside, Jonny Lang was clearly a sizeable talent right from this insanely early debut and has continued to evolve musically since then with many more albums. Years later, “Lie to Me” has not dated as a song and still earns being on “repeat” many times over when I am driving alone.
Most of his music remains full-on blues but “Turnaround” from 2006 (the album that earned him a Grammy) is more gospel influenced. Lang has earned his chops touring with blues royalty such as Buddy Guy, BB King and the Rolling Stones.
Incidentally, Lang did receive some heat from critics with the release of 2003’s “Long Time Coming” which is saturated with a recent foray into Christianity and frankly, put some listeners off. Similarly, fans who were impressed with “Lie to Me” as a song may find some of these subsequent works not exactly lacking - but very different.
Most recently, Lang is currently on his Live By Request tour. On Lang’s website, fans can request songs for this tour and subsequently each night Lang comprises a set list based on these submissions.
You can find tour dates at the Jonny Lang website listed below and in the meantime check out the samples below! (Oh and he’s nearly thirty these days – finally!)