Saturday, November 10, 2012

Wander Jonny's World

Sometimes a singer can reach right into your soul with the first few lines of a song. 
For me, this is Jonny Lang...
I know it can be hard sometimes to put one foot in front of the other. Just to wake up and face the day. It ain't easy all the time......

Jonny Lang, courtesy of
The first time I saw him play, back in 96' he was only 16, but fronted his own blues band...Kid Jonny Lang and The Big Bang. Word was out in the Twin Cities that you had to see this kid now because he was really "going places". This was after being discovered when he took guitar lessons at age 12 from a local blues musician in his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota. 

I just saw him again (finally) a couple of weeks ago....16 years later. Every time he's here in Vegas I plan to see him....and for some reason or another never do. This time I was determined. So I made arrangements. But when the evening finally came I was worried about my mother, who was in the hospital. More information wouldn't be coming to me until the next morning. I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep and hoped he might soothe my soul so I decided to go anyway.

Sitting there in the dark at the Ovation Lounge, with the purple and blue lights above and Jonny's God given talent cursing through him, reaching out to all of us, was just what I needed. It brought me some peace and a compassionate companion to my worry. My husband said to me afterwards, "we need to see him every time he plays here"......he's got that right. I have been lucky enough to watch and work with, in rehearsals, some of the top performers in the business. I can tell you, Jonny is among the best there is.

Wander This World......Acoustic version....Jonny Lang

Jonny Lang reminds me of Bob Dylan in the way he lives. A quiet artist, shy when not on stage. He charts his own course....only 31 years old and already a 15 year veteran of the music business. He has been married for 11 years to Haylie Johnson. They have three children.

His combination of blues, rock and gospel, all work alone or in combination. Jonny sometimes plays with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Sting. He has also performed on the "Jimi Hendrix Experience" compilation, as his gifted ways with a blues guitar grow richer and more extraordinary over time.

"Quitter Never Wins" Jonny Lang....Courtesy of and DIRECT TV

Back in 96' he was known as "Kid Jonny Lang"
Photo courtesy 

One of his early soulful hits. He was 17.
Breakin' Me 

His story...
Jonny 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, North Dakota. Lang soon started taking guitar lessons from Ted Larsen, the Bad Medicine Blues Band's guitar player. Several months after Lang began, he joined the Bad Medicine Blues Band, which was then renamed Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang. 
The band moved to Minneapolis and independently released the album Smokin' when Lang was fourteen. Lang was signed to A&M Records in 1996. He released the critically acclaimed multi-platinum Lie to Me in 1997. The next album, Wander this World was released in 1998 and earned a Grammy nomination. This was followed by the more soulful Long Time Coming in 2003. Lang's album, the gospel influenced Turn Around, released in 2006 won him 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, Jeff Beck and Sting. 

The above is an excerpt from

Jonny Lang's current band includes:
  • Barry Alexander from Minneapolis, MN on drums
  • James Anton from Minneapolis, MN on bass
  • Akil Thompson from Nashville, TN on guitar
  • Dwan Hill from Nashville, TN on keys
  • Missi Hale from Los Angeles, CA on background vocals

Note from me

Thank you Jonny Lang (and Dave Ramsey) for writing the gospel song "That Great Day". It was played at my mother's memorial service last week.

Note to readers:

Next time you're in Las Vegas I highly recommend for real music, a true "artists" lounge....

Ovation Lounge.....Las Vegas....Music, up close and personal 


  1. Unfortunately, Ovation is closing 11/25/12. :-(

  2. Sorry to hear that. They rock. Where to now for their vibe?