10/11/17: Jonny Lang “Still Raining”
At the end of “Blues Brothers 2000,” there’s one of those big ensemble rock n’ roll numbers, where everybody sings a verse as they roll the credits. I forget the exact song they were doing, but there was this one performer who really caught my attention. It was this young, blond kid with shaggy hair. He stood out with this strong, bluesy voice, and it looked, felt, and sounded like he was putting every ounce of his energy into his performance. Immediately, I thought “man, I gotta find out who that kid is!” He sounded like an old-school blues master the making, and I couldn’t believe that voice was coming out of that face. I did some research, and found out who it was: a young guy by the name of Jonny Lang. Even more amazingly, he was only 15 years old at the time.
Jonny Lang grew up on a farm in North Dakota, of all places. As a kid, he was completely wrapped up in his parent’s music collection – mostly Motown, plus a sizeable amount of Otis Redding. When he was 12, his Dad took him to a concert by the Bad Medicine Blues Band. The next year, Jonny got his first guitar. He taught himself a lot, picking up cues from famous musicians that he listened to often, trying to pick up tricks and emulate styles. Soon enough, he want fronting a band called “Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang,” releasing an album as a homegrown outfit that didn’t really take off. Jonny ended up going solo, and at 15 recorded an album called “Lie to Me.” There were some great songs on that album, especially the title song. Jonny’s work went platinum, and was #1 on Billboard’s “New Artists” chart. Roughly a year later, Lang produced another album called “Wander This World,” which got nominated for a Grammy… this time he was 17! Pretty heady stuff for a teenager. Some of my favorite Jonny Lang tunes appear on that album, by the way – including the one that’s in my head today!
Over the years, Jonny has shared the stage with The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Blues Traveler, Jeff Beck, B.B. King and Buddy Guy. He’s toured with some of those name, and played the Crossroads Guitar Festival at the specific request of Eric Clapton himself. I was lucky enough to catch him in concert myself a couple times, and can confirm that he puts on a great show!
These days, Johnny lang is 36, and he’s still out there performing. I still love some of the stuff he did when he was less than half the age he is now, including “Still Raining,” the song I can’t get out of my head today!
To read and listen to all of Ron’s Music in My Head entries, click here!
After playing a show at The Cat’s Cradle in July and at Local 506 in August, and The Carrboro Music Festival in September; the School of Rock students’ next public performance will be Sunday, October 29th on the Southern Village Green!
The School of Rock Chapel Hill is a music school for kids of all ages located in the 501 Diner location on Fordham Blvd in front of Eastgate Crossing.
Locally owned, locally operated, locally staffed, locally sourced instruments, and locally built!
You are invited to stop in for a tour or schedule a free demo session. Their hours are Monday-Thursday 3PM-9PM and Saturday 10AM-4PM!
Learn how to play a real rock and roll song in just 30 minutes!
AND, through a partnership with the Public School Foundation; they’ll donate 1% of their gross revenue to support music in the local public schools, so help bring music to our community and enroll today!
Sign-up at chapelhill.schoolofrock.com, or call 919-338-1011.
Open for Rocking!
‘Music in My Head’ airs every morning @9:15AM. Over the air on 97.9FM and streaming on chapelboro.com