Artist Q-and-A
September 9, 2013 • 08:42:25 a.m.

Guitarist Jonny Lang headed to St. Charles

By ERIC SCHELKOPF - eschelkopf@shawmedia.com

Jonny Lang (Photo provided)

First garnering success as a teen, Jonny Lang continues to be a musical force.

Lang released his major label debut, “Lie To Me,” at age 16. Now 32, he is getting ready to release his latest album, “Fight For My Soul.”

Lang will perform Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main St., St. Charles. The show starts at 8 p.m., and tickets start at $39, available by calling 630-962-7000 or visiting www.oshows.com.

Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to Lang about the new album and his career.

Eric Schelkopf: Your new album, “Fight For My Soul,” will come out Tuesday, Sept. 17. It’s your first album since 2006’s “Turn Around,” which won you a Grammy Award. Why has so much time passed between albums?
Jonny Lang:
Mostly it’s just because I started having kids. Right after “Turn Around,” I had twins.

And now we have four children. We just had our fourth child a few months ago. It was just hard to find time to make an album. It would have meant not being home at all.

ES: Is it going to be a weight off your shoulders when the album comes out? Is it great getting new music out to your fans?
JL:
Yeah, absolutely. It’s really nice to be touring again to support a record and have new songs to play.

ES: And Tommy Sims, who co-wrote Eric Clapton’s Grammy Award-winning song, “Change The World,” produced the album. Why did you want to team up with him and what do you think you brought to the table?
JL:
At first, I wanted to try to do it myself because I’ve never done that, but it’s always been a dream to do a record with Tommy, and I finally had the opportunity to do that.

He’s one of my favorite artists. His solo album, “Peace And Love,” has been a big inspiration to me.
We’ve been buddies for years and years now, so it was great to work with him.

He’s like a Stevie Wonder. He’s that level of a musician and songwriter and producer.

He was just incredible to work with creatively.

ES: Starting out, you were known as a blues guitarist. But do you think that label fits today? Do you think of this album as a blues record?
JL:
No, not really. I’m influenced by blues guitar players, for sure, and you can hear that – I think – in my guitar playing still. But the songs don’t lend themselves to that genre really on this record so much.

But I think that will always be an element of the music.

ES: You’re 32 now. A lot of people probably remember you as that 16-year-old who released “Lie To Me.” Did you feel a lot of pressure back then because you were so young?
JL:
Not really. I was doing what I loved and I was just having the time of my life, really.

Pressure to perform and all that kind of thing was never something that I was conscience about when I was starting out. It was fun for me. It was great.

ES: And back in 1999, you played in front of then President Bill Clinton and his wife. What was that experience like?
JL:
Oh, man. It was incredible. He was just a very gracious guy and super nice.

ES: With this new album, do you think you are taking blues in a new direction?
JL:
I don’t think of it as that, really. I kind of look at that genre as something that I am so happy to have been a part of.

With any style of music or art, I guess you can kind of stretch the boundary of it. But once it starts getting away from what it is too much, it stops being that.

Maybe someday I will do a record that is just straight-up blues again. This one was not necessarily trying to stretch the boundaries of what blues is or anything like that.


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