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Jonny Lang

jonnylang

jonnylangOne of the great young blues players of today is a guy named Jonny Lang.  Lang started playing the guitar at the age of twelve, after his father took him to see the Bad Medicine Blues Band, one of the few blues bands in Fargo. Lang soon started taking guitar lessons from…

One of the great young blues players of today is a guy named Jonny Lang..  Lang started playing the guitar at the age of twelve, after his father took him to see the Bad Medicine Blues Band, one of the few blues bands in Fargo. Lang soon started taking guitar lessons from Ted Larsen, the Bad Medicine Blues Band’s guitar player. Several months after Lang started guitar lessons, he joined the Bad Medicine Blues Band, which was then renamed Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang.

The band moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and independently released the album Smokin when Lang was 14. Lang was signed to A&M Records in 1996. He released the critically acclaimed multi-platinum Lie to Me on January 28, 1997. The next album, Wander This World, was released on October 20, 1998 and earned a Grammy nomination. This was followed by the more soulful Long Time Coming on October 14, 2003. Lang also made a cover of Edgar Winter’s “Dying to Live.” Lang’s newest album, the gospel-influenced Turn Around, was released in 2006, and most recently won Lang his first Grammy Award.

In more than ten years on the road, Lang has toured with the Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Blues Traveler, and Sting. In 1999, he was invited to play for a White House audience including President and Mrs. Clinton. Lang also makes a cameo appearance in the film Blues Brothers 2000 as a janitor. In 2004 Eric Clapton asked Lang to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival to raise money for the Crossroads Centre Antigua.

Jonny like most young artists was influenced, unfortunately by drugs and alcohol.  He describes in one of his songs called “Only a Man” about his brush with the God.  Here are the lyrics to the song;

I used to live my life in fear
Was worried all the time
From waking up to laying down
I had no peace of mind
The world became a darkened place
A struggle without end
Although bitter times those were
The days that I had began to understand
I was only a man

I grew up singing songs in church
With questions in my mind
Then turned my back and ran away
From God who gave me life
Then one night his presence fell
I wept and shook and then
I fell down and cried, Dear Jesus, rescue me again
I understand I am only a man

And He said, What will it be now?
Will you choose me or keep swimming up stream now?
I’ve been inside your head hearing you scream out.
Well here I am, just take my hand and I’ll take out
All of the pain and all of the fear
All of the fear

I’ll give you my burdens (I’ll give you peace)
All of my desires (I’ll give you what you need)
Oh, what about these chains, Lord? (I’ll set you free)
But they’re so heavy (Lay them at my feet)
I’ll lay them at your feet
Just promise you won’t leave (I’ll never leave)
So where do I go from here, Lord? (Just follow me)
(Just follow me)
I’ll follow you (Just follow me) wherever you lead
Wherever you lead, wherever you lead

Jonny has battled his demons and won.  He is clean and sober now.  My point here is that this man started his career and passion at a young age and has seen the best of times and worst of times, but through it all he had his guitar.  At 29 he has lived a long hard life, but his guitar has provided him the therapy he has needed to succeed in his career, but also to find the Lord and his purpose in life.  Another thing Jonny writes about in one if his songs (listen up kids) named Anything’s Possible about his life struggling as a young guitar player.  He had a dream, focused on it, and made it come true.  If you have that dream to play guitar, be in a band or whatever …… Anything’s Possible!  Here are the lyrics;

Let me tell you

I remember in the days of old,
Doesn’t seem that long ago,
It was….
“Jonny you won’t be nothing unless you do what you’re told”
Study medicine or study law,
And please put away the guitar,
The best you’ll ever be is a local star at the local bar,

But I went and did it anyway,
Family helping all the way,
Now I’m here today,
5 records later,
So you can hear me say,

Don’t …let ‘em tell you can’t be,
Anything you wanna be,
Don’t be deceived,
Anything’s possible,
If ….you will just believe,
Then you can succeed,
It might not be easy,
But anything’s possible,

What if old Ben Franklin,
Would of been frightened by lightening,
If he would of stayed inside …..then
We’d still be in the dark,

Martin Lurther King,
Did some beautiful things,
All because he had a dream,
Just like you and me,

Don’t …let ‘em tell you can’t be,
Anything you wanna be,
Don’t be deceived,
Anything’s possible,
If ….you will just believe,
Then you can succeed,
It might not be easy,

Don’t you know –it’s gonna be sweat
and some tears,
and some hard years,
best believe they’ll be hurt,
And some pain,
Expect some rain,

You’re gonna make it if you try,
Keep your eye-on the prize,
You can take it,
You might have to work it,but it’s gonna be worth it,
Don’t let ‘em tell you that you don’t deserve it

I saw him recently at Horseshoe casino, and let me say it was an awesome concert.  I recommend if you get a chance, go see him.  Chad can tell you about his techniques and style, even what type of guitar he plays. All I know is he is very passionate about his music and you can hear it.  I have posted some of his video’s on the Guitar Therapy website, and I do recommend you give him a listen.

 

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