Jonny Lang Biography

Jon Gordon Langseth, 29 January 1981, Fargo, North Dakota, USA. Blues guitarist/singer Jonny Lang was signed to A&M Records as a child prodigy before his sixteenth birthday - having only received his first guitar at the age of 13. By this time he had already earned a strong regional reputation as an interpreter of the blues, eventually moving from Fargo to Minneapolis to become leader of Kid Jonny Lang And The Big Bang. That band’s independently released Smokin’ album underscored Lang’s growing reputation, selling an impressive 25, 000 copies without the aid of national distribution.

By the time A&M stepped in for Lang’s signature, he had also played alongside such blues greats as Luther Allison, Lonnie Brooks and Buddy Guy. 1997’s Lie To Me, produced by David Z (Janet Jackson, Collective Soul, Fine Young Cannibals), was an impressive major label debut. Although more mainstream in its combination of blues and soul textures than the raw Smokin’, it confirmed Lang as a guitarist of impressive range and astonishing maturity. It included songs written by David Z, Lang’s keyboard player, Bruce McCabe, Dennis Morgan and Lang himself, alongside cover versions of material by Sonny Boy Williamson (‘Good Morning Little Schoolgirl’) and Ike Turner (‘Matchbox’). The follow-up Wander This World broadened the musical range even further, emphasising Lang’s mastery of rock and soul styles. The album broke into the US Top 30 in November 1998. Later in the year, Lang made a cameo appearance in the movie Blues Brothers 2000.

Lang’s first release of the new millennium, Long Time Coming, marked a not altogether successful attempt to move into harder rocking territory, and was also marred by some heavy-handed religious lyrics. The 2006 release Turn Around was altogether more successful, putting Lang back in the higher reaches of the charts with an excellent, fresh-sounding collection of funky blues songs.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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