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Jonny Lang

jonny-lang

Music writers be warned – Jonny Lang might try to head you off at the pass.

Resting after a soundcheck at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Lang, inquisitive and interested, seemed more interested in my music than in talking about his own. Once he found out I was a musician, too, he wanted to know the details: Really? That’s so cool – what kind of music do you play? Do you write your own songs, then?

“Sorry – it’s like I’m interviewing you now,” Lang laughs.

I told him it was his turn, and we started talking about his latest album, Fight For My Soul, his sixth solo effort and another notch in his throne as blues-rock guitar whiz kid.

Lang has been slowly gaining steam since the release of his first major-label album, 1997’s Lie to Me. But he was briefly derailed by – well, life, really, as he started a new path of sobriety, snagged a Grammy Award along the way, and took some additional Big Steps.

“I had a crazy 7-8 years,” Lang explains. “Starting a family and entering into a new chapter of my life. It was a psychological battle for me for a while.”

The album – which is named after the song of the same name – was originally intended, Lang says, as a “really focused and thought-out record,” but his state of mind during the three years it took to write and record the set found him taking a different approach than he’d planned.

“In some ways, it was a focused record,” he says, “but in others, it was more like just throwing paint at a wall – I felt like I just wanted to get there, and get these songs out.”

Lang’s changed his songwriting process over the years, he explains. At first, he didn’t know how to approach the writing of a song’s various sections – not knowing the beginning from the middle or the end.

“So a song being completed at all was kind of like a little miracle,” he laughs. “But I think I’m a little better at it now than I used to be – I feel I’m more accomplished at it now.”

He’s also an expert at touring these days, having played shows at a remarkably long list of venues, touring with everyone from Sting to The Rolling Stones. But even after 15 years, he still finds energy and appeal in The Road, including the fact that he feels blessed to be there at all.

“When I started out, I was always like, ‘touring, yeah, that’s for me,'” he says, “but if that was still my only focus, I’d be burnt out.”

His aim now, he says, is on a higher level.

“Don’t get me wrong,” Lang explains. “It’s still fun and it’s still inspiring. But the goal and the hope now is to see people’s lives get affected by my performances in ways I never thought possible.”

“The stories keep coming from people who have listened to this song or that song, and the songs have really impacted them, they’ve affected their lives. So it’s a real honor that now, maybe, I’ll get to be a blessing to some other people.”    – Kristi Kates