I only became recently aware of Johnny Lang. I suppose this is justified. While he has been making music since was 13 – almost 20 years, his latest record “Fight For My Soul” was first studio release in since 2006 (excluding his 2009 live album “Live at The Ryman”). Lang has a very distinct voice that fuses together soul, blues, gospel and roots. Combine this with his impressive guitar skills and it was easy to why he was called a wunderkind.
Lang is also one of the most down-to-earth musicians I’ve met. With his cropped hair-cut and casual dress, he could easily be mistaken for a retro rocker. We bumped into each other as I was looking for the entrance to the casino and he couldn’t have been more friendly. We seemed to strike a chord with each other right away and even after our much-too-brief interview was over, we continued to chat about our respective career paths and love of the arts. We both share a deep passion for story telling. We probably could have talked for hours, but he had a show to play and I had a radio staff party to attend
Speaking of passion, one thing that Lang talked about with grace was his guidance from God. At first, this may turn some people away, and admittedly at first I was unsure about to approach this topic simply because I didn’t know whether Johnny would start proselytizing. He didn’t. He merely speaks from the heart (which is what a musician – or any storyteller – should always strive to do.
Even though Lang went to church as a kid, by his own account he never really sought out to be Christian or was that into God. But after some rough days in his mid and late teens he had an encounter with the holy spirit that gave him a new focus. That, along with his wife and kids, keeps him grounded. Those are also sources of inspiration and being a parent has allowed him to explore his creativity in ways he had never thought about before.
“Fight For My Soul” is replete with an abundance of diversity. “Blew Up (The House)” is traditional blues-rock sounding that showcases Lang’s unique and powerful voice as well as his guitar riffs. The title track, on the other hand, is more slow and lamentable and proves that Lang is adept at many different musical styles. The opening of “The Truth” is a throw-back to the blues of old; the musty and rustic sound that gave birth to much of modern music. Although it’s been seven years, Johnny Lang hasn’t missed a beat.
Fight For My Soul was released on September 17, 2013.
Blew Up (The House) Music Video
RIYL: Blues Traveler, B.B. King, Luther Allison