Modern-day rock and pop may often sway away from the raw live performances of the past. But fans of the blues can still count on their favorite musicians to offer up glorious back to the basics sounds.
Since the 1990s, singer/guitarist Jonny Lang has been one of these talents. Lang, who has shared the stage with a wide range of acts including the Rolling Stones, B.B. King and Aerosmith, is known for merging blues and rock together. Signs, his first release in four years, is just another example of him proudly flying the blues flag. Long Islanders can catch him live at the Paramount in Huntington on Oct. 19.
Lang spoke about his new album, his favorite blues artists and recordings as well as his thoughts on a blues revival.
How is Signs different than your previous albums?
This record, stylistically, it’s a bit more rock and a bit more of a tip towards American roots music—blues. It kind of has that production value on some of the songs.
What are some of your favorite tracks?
I’m pretty proud of the song “Bitter End.” It didn’t turn out how I thought it would, but it turned out better than I thought it would. It was a happy accident. It turned into more of this rock tune that builds up…The song “Signs,” is maybe the track that the rest of the record hangs on. It’s kind of centered stylistically for the rest of the record because there are a few different types of music and styles going on in the record. I think that was kind of in the middle of all of them.
Do you sense that the next blues rock revival may be coming soon? It seems like nowadays with pop and rock, it’s all computerized with lots of studio trickery.
I think you may be right. I know there is a little more of younger people getting into blues music, so I don’t know if it’s a huge trend that is going to continue and surge, but that would be really great. Pop music will always be around and control the market, but it would be great to have a revival of American roots music, too.
Who would you say are some of your favorite blues artists?
Albert Collins, B.B. King, Buddy Guy and Jimmie Vaughan are some of my favorites.
It seems like Jimmie Vaughan never gets the credit he deserves for his talents.
Yeah, because he’s so incredibly unique and he has blended so many different styles together within his own style. He’s sort of distilled all of these great roots musicians into one style. I don’t know if he ever really gets the credit that he should.
And for readers who may just be discovering the blues, what are your five favorite blues albums you would recommend?
Albert King’s Blues Power, Albert Collins’ Ice Pickin’, the B.B. King box set [King of the Blues], Tab Benoit’s Nice and Warm and Robert Johnson’s The Complete Recordings.
What can people expect at the upcoming show at the Paramount?
We’re doing a bunch of tunes off the new record and we’re still doing songs off some of the older records. But the set list is still evolving. The goal is to figure out a couple of different set lists that flow nicely and work well live.