03 September 2013 (released)
15 August 2013
It has been too long since the last album from Jonny Lang but this suggests that the wait was worth it.
Jonny Lang was a prodigy – me made his major label; debut at 16, sixteen years ago and from working the clubs in Fargo and Minneapolis to playing arenas all over the world his style has developed from a straight Blues player to a completely unique musician playing Blues, Gospel, funk and soul – to my ear his soul music is as deep and heartfelt as anyone making music today.
The funk on this album is awesome, he has a great handle on emphasis and he seems one of the few artists around at the moment who knows when to shut up and let the music talk.
The album kicks off in a relatively conventional manner; ‘Blew Up’ starts with powerful drumbeats and swirling keys alongside chopped guitar patterns but when the vocals come in – wow. He has as many whoo’s and howls as Michael Jackson but he doesn’t need to growl in that fake manner of ol’ MJ and he can also hit the high notes like Prince at his peak. He can also play a mean guitar with a vibrato and note extensions to die for. The song builds the power and in your minds eye you can see him dancing across the stage and boogieing with the keyboards player
‘Breakin’ In’ has a hard edge to it but Lang’s vocals are awesome – all his range and dense soul but again letting the music work – kudos to Tommy Sims for a superb production on the album.
He has as much power in him as Glenn Hughes and the restrained power on the album is delightful – the guy is 32 for pete’s sake, he shouldn’t have this much experience in his voice considering the last album was when he was 25!
Everywhere you look on this set you find new gems – the soul of ‘What Are You Looking For?’ or the gentle Blues of ‘Not Right’ moving into deep blue-eyed soul or the guitar opening to ‘The Truth’ that becomes an utterly harrowing song with a subtly powerful presentation.
He wrings the emotional strings brilliantly, none better than on ‘Fight For My Soul, but packages it all with real aplomb and complete conviction.
An album of many treasures – welcome back Mr Lang.