Friday, October 11, 2013

RECORD REVIEW: Jonny Lang "Fight for My Soul"

Fight for My Soul
Concord Records

Renowned blues ace
Jonny Lang released his
major label debut at the
tender age of 15 back in
1997. Today, at the ripe
old age of 32, Lang is an 
industry elder statesman.
And he recently returned
to the scene with his first
new record in six years.

Produced by Jonny Lang and Tommy Sims, Fight for My Soul combines all elements of Lang's signature soulful style and wraps them up into one appealing package.

"Blew Up (The House)" and "Breakin' In" open the record with a particular pop punch, while in the vein of Gavin DeGraw, "We are the Same" is more guitar-driven, yet hooky as heck.

Other highlights include, "What You're Looking For," which smacks of the Black Crowes' "Remedy" and "Thorn in My Pride" — good "smack" indeed. Oozing a distinct old school soulfuliciousness, "Not Right" is also a bona fide gem.

But despite the record's fresh factor, much of its charm blooms from the noticeable aforementioned retro influence. The Motown-flavored "The River" is fun and infectious, while the vocal arrangement and melody of the heartfelt love song, "All of a Sudden"  is undeniably Prince-inspired.

"I'll Always Be" is a soaring epic and makes for a mighty closer. However, blending Lang's acclaimed gritty guitar style with his signature whiskey-soaked, two-pack-a-day vocal style, "The Truth" stands out as the record's crowning jewel.

Bold and bluesy / sweet and stanky, the overdue return of Jonny Lang prompts me to ask, Dude, what took ya so long?

-Christopher Long
(October 2013)

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