The first time I saw Jonny Lang was at Antone’s in Austin during SXSW around 2000, and then at the big outdoor venue Stubb’s during the same event in 2002. By that time he had had one #1 Billboard album, one Grammy nomination and had released three albums before he turned twenty. This week he played at John Dee, fifteen years after I saw him the last time.
Jonny Lang comes from Fargo in North Dakota, his family of Norwegian descent. He was born Jon Gordon Langseth Jr in 1981, but changed his name to Jonny Lang. When he was 12 he started playing the guitar, and he released his debut album at the age of 15. The first big success came with the album Lie to Me in 1997. The title song from the album is still a good song, in my opinion.
After a crisis when he was 19, he found God and stopped drinking and using drugs. He has released five albums since then, the last one, Sign, this year. The album is a good example of Jonny Lang’s style, with a rough, but organic sound, high energy songs, like Last Man Standing, and a bluesy touch through the whole album.
I remember when I saw Jonny Lang in 2002 I instantly liked his playing and his songs. But I must admit I haven’t listened much to him the last fifteen years, until he played in Oslo on Monday. He did play in Oslo not so long ago, but I was unfortunately not able to see him then. At John Dee he showed us what a great artist he is, with top speed from the first song. The concert has made me revisit his albums to hear again why I loved his music already fifteen years ago.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.