JONNY LANG: FIGHT FOR MY SOUL (Provogue)
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UK release date 02.09.2013
I was so excited when I was told there was a new Jonny Lang studio album, after a seven year wait. I can recall the moment I first heard Jonny’s incredible voice and guitar playing, back in 1997 on a pea -souper foggy night on the Isle of Skye. I was on honeymoon at the time.
But when he blasted on to the Paul Jones Blues show on BBC Radio 2, I had to pull over to marvel at just what I was hearing, and scribble his name down on my roadmap! Caught him live later that year at London’s Dingwalls, when he was on a night off from supporting the Stones on tour. His first of only two UK solo shows ever. Breath-taking performance, and only 16 years old.
He lost his way a bit on his most recent output. But Jonny has found himself on this new one, and grown up big-time. It is a career defining album and will appeal to fans of soul, contemporary R&B and old skool R&B too. Blues fans should really dig it. The difference between everything he has done before and this; is the song-writing. These 11 songs are an exceptional example of the craft of writing songs.
But one track here has really blown me away and is astounding work. “We Are The Same.” You can hear the Stevie Wonder influences shining out in those jazz and soul chord progressions, and in that God-given vocal - innate and not copycat in any way.
I had the pleasure of sitting with Jonny this week, and you can read all about that chat in the September issue of this magazine. He has had his own battles in his life, but at the age of 32 he is content in his own skin, and that shows on this CD.
I cannot find fault with it. There may be some blues fans who may be disappointed there are not screaming blues solos all over this. The guitar actually part of the ensemble in the most part. But the song is King here - and that gives Jonny the perfect hand-in-glove vehicle for his spine tingling vocals. The most soulful he has ever been on record.
Jonny Lang is well and truly back – but he now has the problem of following up this amazing album. Good luck with that one mate!
Words SIMON REDLEY