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JONNY LANG
by Keavin Wiggins

At the age of 19, Jonny Lang didn’t have much to prove. He already had two platinum albums under his belt and a Grammy nomination but that didn’t stop Jonny from trying to top himself when it came time to come up with his third album. 

Now at the age of 22, Lang is ready for the world to hear the next chapter in his musical story, an album by the name of “Long Time Coming”. Lang isn’t looking back, only forward and is pleased with his latest offering, "I'm the happiest I've ever been, and I've just finished recording an album I couldn't be happier with." 

The title of the disc is a bit of tongue in cheek for those who waited patiently for the album’s release. And it was bit of a wait this time around for Lang fans; four years to be exact! But Lang had a vision for his new album and he wanted it to honestly reflect who he is. With that in mind, he penned or co-wrote all but one track on the CD and also worked as co-producer along side Marti Fredrickson (Ozzy Osbourne, Aerosmith, Faith Hill). 

Their combined effort seemed to pay off and once fans hear the end result they will know their wait was not in vain. The bluesy notes just flow out of the speakers. Vocally, Lang captures a bit of Rod Stewart without the rasp. In fact, it is Lang’s velvet throated delivery that carries the day. He projects real power when it is needed but he also packs his song with genuine raw emotion even at the slower moments. 

The CD can be a little slick production-wise at points but that is easily overlooked when contrasted against the rockin’ moments. Blues play a part in the music but Lang doesn’t put all his eggs in one basic. The blues are definitely heard but they play the role as more of a basic framework in which Lang builds from. 

That diversity is evident throughout the CD, Lang mixes it up from track to track and it’s virtually impossible to feel any redundancy when listing to this album. He brings the funk with the track “Give What You Give”, perhaps one of the best songs featured here. He opens the album with the rockin’ blues infused “Give Me Up Again”. The second track “Red Light” slows the pace and seems a little il’ placed so early in the disc during the first few bars but the song quickly redeems itself and Lang’s smooth vocal delivery save the day. 

Then there is acoustically led “One I Got”, which sounds a little like Michael Bolton might sounds if he had more cohunes.  It’s less rockin’ than some of the other tracks because the guitars are turned down but the song is delivered with a rapid fire pace and Lang just wraps his voice around the words. It works for well for him but very few could pull it off convincingly without sounding too “adult contemporary”. 

The next track “Touch” unfortunately does fall into the AC trap and comes across as a Michael Bolton song. “Beautiful One” suppers a similar fate although there are a lot of positive moments and after a few spins it grows on you. The big complaint is the drums sound too artificial but the chorus is as smooth as you can get and the lead guitars add a nice texture to the song. 

“If We Try” brings the funk again and helps Lang redeems himself from the Bolton’esq moments that proceeded this one. The soul is subtler, this isn’t “Brick House” but it really showcases Lang’s vocals. 

That’s only half the disc and Lang has already proved himself. But it’s the next track that really stands out. A little number called “Goodbye Letter”, a emotional ballad that starts out with a bit of a Cat Stevens feel but then kicks into power mode. 

The rest of the album is an exploration on the edge of the blues and includes some excellent tracks like haunting “Save Yourself” and the smooth bluesy “To Love Again” which seems destined for greatness on the Hot AC charts and features some pretty solid guitar work. 

All in all, four years was a long time to wait for new material, especially for an artist so young, but Jonny Lang fans should end up more than pleased with the final product. Lang may not be for everyone, especially if you like the your guitars distorted and your vocals delivered with more of a scream but Lang helps resurrect the almost forgotten art form of  contemporary rock with blues overtones. A very worthy effort from a very worthy artist. It’s hard to imagine what he’ll come up with in the years to come but Lang is young enough to give us decades of music in the years to come and if he keeps building upon the same foundation, that music will be pretty solid. 


CD Info 

Jonny Lang – Long Time Coming
Label: Universal
Rating
 
Tracks:
Give Me Up Again
Red Light
Get What You Give
One I Got, The
Touch
Beautiful One
If We Try
Goodbye Letter
Save Yourself
To Love Again
Happiness And Misery
Hide Your Love
Dying To Live
Long Time Coming
Livin' For The City
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