Musical prodigy Jonny Lang graced the stage of the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, September 8, 2013.
Lang first gained popularity in the music scene when he was only 16, releasing his first major-label debut album, Lie to Me. The title track from the album quickly became one of his most well-known singles. Lang has been on a bit of a hiatus from producing music; his last Grammy-winning studio album, Turn Around, was released seven years ago in 2006. His newest album, Fight for My Soul, comes out September 17, 2013.
The Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter has been recognized within a wide range of genres including blues, rock, funk and Gospel. He has diverse vocal styles, some high, others smooth and definitely a lot of soul. When Lang first came on the scene, it was a bit shocking to hear such a voice come out of a kid. Some compared his mature vocal sound to blues veterans 20+ years older.
Lang had a humble presence when he appeared on the stage at the Val Air to play for the 500 or so people. He didn’t say a word, but instead got right down to business. The band opened with Don’t Stop (For Anything) from the Turn Around album.
He’s aged some since Lie to Me came out in 1997. He’s even a husband now and the father to four children; yet he still has a baby face that looks way too young to belt out so much soul, and he still exhibited his well-known, signature grimacing facial expressions.
Lang is a man of few words. He continued through his set, saying very little, but still impressed the audience with his undeniable stage presence. While he let his guitar do a lot of the “talking” he also let loose some amazing vocals.
It was a seated show, but by the third song people were jumping out of their seats screaming in excitement. Soon after, Lang encouraged everyone to come to the front of the stage which most people did has they abandoned their seats in favor of being closer to Lang.
Lang and his band played another one of his popular singles, Red Light, from his 2003 album Long Time Coming. After playing Angel of Mercy from Wander This World, the band left the stage and Lang came back out by himself to play a few songs acoustically, including Breakin’ Me also from Wander This World.
The show ended with Lang starting to play Lie to Me acoustically, before his full band re-appeared on stage, to finish playing the song with him. Lang and his band are no doubt “real” musicians, and can show you they know how to use their instruments. In a world of backing tracks and musicians who can record an album, but yet can’t pull off a good live show, hope in music seems to be restored when you have the chance to witness true talent.
Watch the lyric video for Blew Up (The House), the first single from Fight For My Soul:
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