Jonny Lang released his second album that went platinum at the age of 15 and over the course of the next quarter of a century he has shared the stage with everyone from The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith to B.B. King and Buddy Guy. He’s released eight studio albums and won a Grammy for 2006’s Turn Around. He’s contributed to a number of compilation albums and even film appearances and soundtracks. His weathered sounding voice accompanied by his phenomenal raw and distinctive guitar performances have earned him a reputation as being both a successful recording artist as well as an incendiary live act.
Here are Jonny Lang’s top 10 songs to date.
“Matchbox” on 1997’s Lie To Me is an excellent example of Lang’s sophistication and ability even at the early age of 15 to assimilate existing models and create his own brand of the blues as he took Ike Turner and the King’s of Rhythm’s composition and made it his own.
9. “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl”
“Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” also on 1997’s Lie To Me, is a Sonny Boy Williamson composition from the “Golden Age of the Blues” where Lang’s gravely sounding voice exploits to the hilt.
8. “Leaving To Stay”
“Leaving To Stay” is from his third album in 1998, Wander This World, and is a gospel song based on his personal spiritual experience with the Holy Ghost. It’s a song that explores the ambiguity of the struggle of faith with doubt and the eventual resolution.
7. “The Levee”
“The Levee” is from his third studio album released in 1998, Wander This World. The lyrics reach back to Highway 61, a common road for blues artists since Robert Johnson made a pact with the devil at the crossroads located at an intersection of what became Highway 61.
6. “Still Rainin’”
“Still Rainin’” is once again on 1998’s Wander This World, which produced a slew of great songs. This one is a wild excursion into one of Lang’s most infectiously uninhibited compositions.
5. “I’ll Always Be”
“I’ll Always Be” is on 2013’s Fight For My Soul which hit number 50 on Billboard’s Hot 200 chart but was number one as a blues album and number two as a CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) release.
4. “Turn Around”
“Turn Around” from his Grammy Award winning 2006 album of the same name is a gospel-driven tune that lyrically recalls the advice that “aunt Linda” gave young Jonny to “turn around” if he found himself heading in the wrong direction on the road of life.
3. “Make It Move”
Jonny Lang’s 2017 release Signs contained cuts like “Make It Move” that reproduced the plaintiff mourning sound of pre-gospel “jubilee” field hollers.
2. “Red Light”
“Red Light” is from 2003’s Long Time Coming and is a very personal song that delves into Lang’s inner thoughts or so it seems as he reflects on all his life options while sitting at a red light. The song itself is a heart tugging emotional cry that lyrically vacillates between the glory and the flame while each verse sonically transcends the previous one until it ultimately explodes in a climax of illumination.
1. “Lie To Me”
“Lie To Me” is once again from 1997’s Album of the same name and seems to be his signature song just as “The Thrill is Gone” was B.B. King’s. It impressed The Rolling Stones enough to have Lang open for their “Bridges to Babylon” tour in 1998 at the age of 16.