JONNY LANG FACTS:
Genre: Gospel, Rock, Blues
Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota
Albums: Smokin (1995); Lie to Me (1997); Wander This World (1998); Long Time Coming (2003); Turn Around (2006)
Awards: 1 Grammy Award
Hits: "Only a Man," "That Great Day"
Other: Seen in a cameo in the film Blues Brothers 2000.
The blues is typically not thought of as a genre for young men from the middle of North Dakota, but Jonny Lang has done his part to change that notion. With an iconic voice and considerable skill on guitar, Lang has carved out a considerable fanbase in blues circles and has received substantial critical acclaim throughout his young career.
Lang began playing blue guitar at a very young age, and by the time he was 15-years-old, he was already a member of the band Kid Jonny Lang and the Big Bang. The band released its first, and only, album in 1996. Though the record did not have much success, either critically or commercially, it kickstarted Lang's career and he was soon off and running.
Although he was not yet 16, Lang released his debut solo album, Lie to Me, in 1997. Unlike its predecssor, the record was a favorite among critics and was certified multi-platinum. His success continued the following year with his album, Wander This World. Thanks to tracks such as "Breakin' Me" and "The Levee," the record earned Lang his first Grammy nomination.
Despite his growing popularity among fans and critics, it was five years before Lang released any new material. However, he came back strong in 2003 with the album Long Time Coming, which represented a shift in musical styles and songwriting and placed more emphasis on a soulful feel.
In 2006, Lang reached a new level of success with the album Turn Around. The record featured a number of classic songs including "Only a Man" and "That Great Day" and earned Lang his first Grammy Award, which he won for Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album. Most recently, Lang has collaborated with Cindy Lauper, and contributed his talent to her latest album, and although he has not released any new studio material since Turn Around, he has worked with everyone from Carlos Santana to Dave Barnes.
Perhaps the best indicator of Lang's musical influence is who he has performed with. In his years on the road, Lang has toured with a number of legendary artists including Buddy Guy, The Rolling Stones and blues icon B.B. King.