Q - 12/99, p.1223 Stars (out of 5)
- "...this follow-up broadens the playing field to include R&B, hard rock and white soul. The depth and economy of his playing and a voice that sounds as if it's been doused in Wild Turkey and hung out to dry remain the distinguishing factors..."
WANDER THIS WORLD is an Enhanced CD, which contains regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel: Jonny Lang (vocals, guitar); Tommy Burroughs (acoustic guitar, background vocals); Jack Holder (guitar, keyboards); Steve Cropper, Kevin Bowe (guitar); Paul Diethelm (dobro); Eric Leeds (saxophone); Bruce McCabe, Ricky Peterson (keyboards); David Smith (bass); Richie Hayward (drums); Bekka Bramlett, Jimmy Davis, William Brown, Jessica Boucher, J.D. Steele, Jevetta Steele, Fred Steele, Billy Steele (background vocals).
Recorded at Seedy Underbelly Studios & Oarfin Studios, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Sound Kitchen, Nashville, Tennessee.
WANDER THIS WORLD was nominated for the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
Audio Mixer: David Z. .
Recording information: Oarfin, Studios, Minneapolis, MN; Seedy Underbelly Studios, Minneapolis, MN; Sound Kitchen, Nashville, TN.
When a wave of blues-playing wunderkids (Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Monster Mike Welch) arrived on the scene in the '90s, 16-year-old Jonny Lang was out alongside them with his debut LIE TO ME. On his follow-up, WANDER THIS WORLD, Lang once again teams up with ex-Prince mate David Z for yet another excellent collection of R&B-tinged blues.
Not yet old enough to drink, Lang has a voice that rings with the tone of an old soul, particularly on the late Luther Allison's "Cherry Red Wine," the album's only cover. Although this teen shreds impressively on songs such as the scorching "Still Rainin'," he shows an affinity for Memphis soul on "Second Guessing" and "Walking Away" and clavinet-driven funk on both "Before You Hit The Ground" and "I Am." When he's not channeling Otis Redding's spirit or rooting around in Prince's musical neighborhood, Lang's impressive range allows him to update the blues without making it sound readymade for a beer commercial. This results in an ominous title track whose main character's restless spirit is juxtaposed with the salvation flowing from "Leaving To Stay," a song wrapped in soulful redemption, countrified piano and a joyful chorus.