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Music Reviews

JONNY LANG/LIE TO ME [1997] (A&M Records 31454 0640 2)

Jonny Lang may only be seventeen years old but he already has the essential elements for a successful recording career, a record company that supports him, a talented group of musicians backing him up, a mean guitar hand, and a natural blues voice that makes him sound much older. The combination of these four elements immediately places him at the head of the young blues player’s line. They also landed him high-profile opening slots on tours by Aerosmith and Blues Traveler this year. His next album should be interesting because it will show us what those experiences added to the brew.

“Lie To Me” contains twelve tracks, only two of which were co-written by Lang himself. While this isn’t a problem yet, because of his age, it could become his shortfall if he isn’t able to adapt himself to the song writing process. I would imagine that A&M is addressing this problem and has someone working with him on it. He was reportedly able to learn guitar in only a few years, it’s likely that his determination will allow him to pick up song writing as well.

The disc’s title track has already scored him a hit and his fan base is quietly building. Other standout tracks on this release include versions of Tinsley Ellis’ “A Quitter Never Wins,” Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little School Girl,” and a seemingly appropriate track entitled “Hit The Ground Running.”

It’ll be interesting to watch Jonny Lang develop over the next ten years or so. He’s good now, and has produced a credible debut, but it’s his potential that really draws people’s attention. He could be huge if he continues to challenge himself along the way. If he doesn’t, he risks fading into obscurity at a very young age.