I first heard of Jonny Lang when he burst onto the blues scene as a 15-year-old prodigy. With a second plantinum album before he was 20 and tours with artists like Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones and B. B. King, Lang had everything an aspiring musician could want. Everything that is, but happiness. Drugs and alcohol never brought the peace he sought. Then he underwent a spiritual transformation that is recounted in the song Only A Man, which includes contributions from Nickel Creek violinist Sara Watkins and Lang's wife Haylie on additional vocals:
I grew-up singing songs in church, with questions in my mind / And turned my back and ran away, from God who gave me life / Then one night his presence fell, I wept and shook and then I fell down and cried “Dear Jesus rescue me again, I understand, / I am only a man
Lang brings some other special guests aboard for this project as well: My Love Remains was co-written with Steven Curtis Chapman, Michael McDonald joins Lang for a duet on Thankful, and On That Great Day features Sam Bush on mandolin and Buddy Miller on guitar.
While there's some prominent guitar work on the title track, the song where Jonny rocks out the most is called Don't Stop (For Anything), which includes a couple of lengthy guitar solos sure to please anyone who enjoys Lang's expertise. Overall, Turn Around is more soul than blues--as much as I enjoy it, part of me would like to see another project that's more Stevie Ray than Stevie Wonder. Don't get me wrong; this is a tremendous record, but I love the blues and I'd enjoy hearing Lang cut loose with more bluesy solos. That said, I'm thrilled that this talented musician got his life right with God before he destroyed himself. Remember, after a decade in the spotlight, he's still only 25 and should have years of productivity that will be dedicated to gloryifying God with his prodigious talent. If the best is yet to come, we're in for some amazing treats over the next few decades.
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