Jonny Lang Live at the Ryman
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- Released: April 19, 2010
- Originally Released: 2010
- Label: Concord Records
Personnel: Jonny Lang (vocals, guitar); Sonny Thompson (vocals, guitar); Jim Anton (vocals); Tommy Barbarella (keyboards); Barry Alexander (drums); Jason Eskridge (percussion, background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Erik "Keller" Jahner; Seth Presant.
Recording information: The Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN (08/30/2008).
Nashville's Ryman Auditorium may no longer be the home of the Grand Ole Opry, but it is still known for country music. Jonny Lang claims the venue for the blues on this live recording, however. Before an enthusiastic audience, he turns in a representative set full of energy and screaming electric guitar playing. The band seems amped up from the outset on "One Person at a Time," a statement of purpose as well as a plea to disc jockeys to play Lang's music and help him to platinum status. Elsewhere, he sings of love gone wrong and right, as well as his determination to succeed. His voice is one of those functional ones for a blues musician who is more of an instrumentalist than a singer, as if he'd taken lessons from Eric Clapton and Warren Haynes. The point is expressiveness more than hitting the right notes. The ten-minute "Red Light" is the show's centerpiece, a philosophical ballad that keeps threatening to turn into Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry" as Lang repeats "Everything is gonna be all right." "Thankful" is closer to gospel than the blues, which may be more appropriate to the venue. The songs are more than just platforms for Lang's guitar, just as the band is more than just musical support for it. But he is still a guitar hero, and this spirited performance only confirms that. ~ William Ruhlmann
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