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Jonny Lang /USA/
Jonny Lang has been on the main star of BLUES ALIVE candidates list for quite a couple of years. It might be a paradox, because Lang is only 36 – and what age is it for a bluesman? And yet he seems to be with us for long and long years. Yes, in fact almost exactly two decades. It is simple: he made his debut with an independent label when he was fourteen as a bluesrock ´prodigy´, and right his second album Lie To Me, at the age of 16, was released by a big recording company and went platinum.
Lang became a guitar star, he began to go on big tours, played on stages with his so far blues and rock star idols from B. B. King to Aerosmith or Rolling Stones. Hand in hand with all this went also the side-effects of his hectic life, alcohol and drugs. After a relatively short time these addictions were replaced with marriage and religious conversion. His expression started to manifest elements of Christian music and his fifth album Turn Around won him Grammy Award in the gospel-rock category. However, this by no means softened the sharp edges of his bluesmanship.
This September Jonny Lang released a new album Signs which shows that he has cut none of his roots, even if he is not (and has never been) an orthodox blues interpret. After all, he is not a black truck driver from Chicago, but a young white guy from North Dakota. By the way, a state which has basically zero blues tradition in the context of the USA. Since his third album Wander This World Lang´s music has been absorbing besides blues and rock also soul and funky elements, and he hasn´t been afraid – even if very rarely, now and then - of explicitly pop tuning. However, all his recordings and especially concert recordings are spiced with masterful guitar parts, and his emotionally indented vocals have always had distinctive expression given also by his voice timbre. Even when he was 16 Lang sounded in some voice positions as a life-bitten bluesman or soulman.
A Lidové noviny reviewer writes about his album: ´Album Signs definitely doesn´t sound at first listening as an album of a guitar virtuoso, who Lang undoubtedly is. There are no verbose guitar solos sticking out of the recordings, and if there are some, they are very modest in their length and expression. Lang definitely doesn´t ´tire´ with his guitar artistry, it is under control. It is obvious that he has decided to address a bit wider audience, which is in most songs a good idea. And in solely bluesrock items, which are not missing, he will delight his old fans.´
Jonny Lang concert is another dream come true not only of BLUES ALIVE programme managers, but as we believe, also of a number of his long-standing Czech fans.

 

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