Jonny Is All Grown Up Now

As I walked into the intimate Dreamcatcher Lounge at Viejas Casino, I decided to take a seat and subtly listen to comments made about the blues performer of the evening. Praise for him reached me in the form of a one-shot-too-many older man who bluntly said, “”This guy fuckin’ rocks! You excited?””

Courtesy of Paul Calis
Blues: Over the past four years, Jonny Lang has played with Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and blues legend B.B. King. Now, at 20, he has continued to mature and develop his style.

Um, yeah, but I did not need a random man to inform me of Jonny Lang’s talent; I had heard and believed all the hype from day one.

Four years ago, “”child prodigy”” was the best description of Lang. He kept his listeners in awe with his amazing blues singing and guitar playing. Lang was a huge 50-year-old black man from Mississippi hiding inside the body of a lanky 16-year-old white boy from Minnesota.

The music industry took notice. Since his debut album “”Lie To Me,”” Lang has been invited to tour with B.B. King, Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones and Blues Traveler. He has also headlined a world tour.

Four years after his debut, Lang has left the heading of “”child prodigy”” and taken his place among the blues elite. He has also released his second album, “”Wander This World.”” Straying from purely blues to include a touch of R&B and rock, this album received more acclaim than the first.

Yet, in trying to distance himself from other flashy musicians who tend to focus on high drama, Lang stayed true to his musical influences like bluesmen King and the late Luther Allison. He describes his music style as the “”simple kind of full and dirty sound.””

One might assume Lang’s fan base would be limited to twentysomethings, but he has fans of all ages. At Viejas Friday night, the average fan was a middle-aged male.

With no opening act or grand entrance, Lang and the rest of his band nonchalantly walked onto the stage. As the fans screamed and clapped, Lang smiled and waved casually to the crowd and began to effortlessly strum his guitar.

The performance lasted about an hour-and-a-half, and Lang had the crowd in the palm of his hand the entire time. The audience followed Lang’s emotions throughout; it listened intently to Lang’s self-written ballad “”Walking Away.”” People danced in the aisles to Lang’s upbeat “”Lie To Me.”” Lang also introduced fans to a couple of new songs from his latest album.

The show was incredible. Fans, including me, walked in with the intention of seeing a great show and left knowing we had witnessed one of the most incredible musicians of our time.