Freudian Slips: Jonny Lang...what is a guitar to do?

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

January 16, 2005

Jonny Lang...what is a guitar to do?

I had the wonton pleasure to paint the town red Friday tonight. I accepted the invitation by a friend to see Jonny Lang and Brandi Carlile perform at the Scottish Right Auditorium in Collingswoood, NJ. Any film director wanting to shoot a B movie version of Phantom of the Opera, this is your venue. Cobwebs are included with the price of admission. The theatre appears ghastly but it radiates good acoustical sound. Just don’t use the bathroom without a clothespin or plunger. I thought I had never heard of either Jonny Lang or Brandi Carlisle when they walked on stage…or so I thought. The irony is that WXPN 88.5 FM radio gives air time to their songs. Dopey me has been singing and humming a few bars unwittingly. Brandi Carlile and her three piece ensemble opened up. Coming off signing with Columbia records, the band played stoked on hot coals. Brandi’s voice conjured up music from my childhood. When she described herself as “Patsy Kline with tattoos” it all came first circle. My mother loves Patsy Kline. A gifted singer, Brandi could stand to gain more stage presence. Never introduce your band members for the first and only time during a standing ovation. Nobody can hear anything! She closed with a song called Hallelujah. The construction of the word Hallelujah, if spoken with meaning or sung from the heart, touches the soul. She performed spirituality in the song Hallelujah. If a wicker basket was passed around at that point, I would have kicked in a few dollars. Brandi did a six song set sampler. B+
Jonny Lang pictured below
As the Lang legend goes, BB King discovered Jonny Lang at the age of twelve although with his undeniable musical talent somebody was sure to find him not long after. BB King put him on stage as an opening act and Kid Jonny Lang rose to the challenge. Jonny Lang, who looks like a young Kevin Bacon, cut his first album just out of elementary school. He later opened up for Aerosmith. A veteran of his fourth album at the ripe age of 23, he now commands top billing.
This is not cookie cutter music. This is stand alone stuff. If you close your eyes, you hear musical instruments that can be considered classic rock. If you experience the show with all of your senses, you hear a black man’s soulful voice playing rock music. It is Rock Blues at his finest hour. The young man can play guitar, mandolin, probably dental floss if you handed it to him. I’ll never do reviews for Rolling Stone magazine but the only one better I have seen at guitar is Eddie Van Halen. Lang’s acoustical guitar cords ripped right through my body. I believe the cerebral palsied walked away from that performance on the straight and narrow. Amazing! I thought I had never heard of Jonny Lang, that is until he played a song I heard on public radio called “You Can Run a Light. Lang even played a couple of gospel songs with no drop off in the switch of genres. And that man can scat until you say Ella Fitzgerald who? Lang’s humming and vocalizations matched his guitar strutting so beautifully you question why the music industry ever started to use lyrics. He rocked and blued tried and true. He even plugged in his electric guitar for one song for old time sake. You Can Run a Light has hypnotic lyrics that take on double meaning for me. At face value it is about contemplating suicide. To me, it is also about not driving yourself too fast through life and choosing not only to live but slow down the pace of it. Judge for yourself. You Can Run a Light
By Jonny Lang
You sing a song, while sitting at the red light
You think of home, while sitting at the red light
Too slow to roll
Put your life on hold
An open path
With nowhere to go
You start to wonder, while sitting at a red light
You can run a red light, give up at a red light
You break the mold, when running through the toll
Speeding through your whole life
A chance to breathe, while sitting at the red light
You look around, reflecting on your life
A chance to think Am I drinking too much
Should I keep going
Lose the life that I love
A second glance
When coming to a red light You can run a red light, give up at a red light
You break the mold, when running through the toll
Speeding through you whole life You can run a red light, give up on your whole life
You break the mold, when you're runnin' through the toll
Speeding through your whole life When things look low
You've gotta keep strong
Feet to the grass
You've gotta walk it off
The bows been tied
Too tight to laugh
Feet to the ground
You've gotta walk it off You can run the red light
You can run the red light Start to think Am I drinking to much
Should I keep going Lose the life that I love You can run a red light, give up at a red light
You break the mold, when running through the toll
Speeding through your whole life You can run a red light, give up on your whole life
You break the molds, when running through the tolls
Speeding through your whole life You can run a red light
You can run a red light
You sing a song, while sitting at a red light

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6 Comments:

Blogger PaxRomano said...

Oh you crazy kids and your rock and roll music ...

I saw Lang a few years back at the Tower, and you are right - this kid has the soul of an ancient bluesman in him (how does that voice come out of that skinny little body?)

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow!!!!......be still and treasure the moment. What a lovely concept......some of us have a past and hope for a better future, but never embrace the present time. Gold star for you. Post by ET

5:04 AM  
Blogger Zelda Parker said...

Hail, Hail XPN for playing artists that we might never hear otherwise. Many of them are Philadelphia natives.
Thanks to XPN I am enjoying Jack Johnson, Grey Eyed Glances,Jeffery Gaines, Richard Thompson and Johnny Lang to name a few! Music is a treasure we can all enjoy!

9:22 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

Right you are, Zelda. Hail WXPN. Without public radio, I would have thought Grey Eye Glances were elephants making goo-goo eyes at the circus.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard brandi carlile

4:36 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

anonymous,
Brandi Carlisle actually visited my blog. She sent me an email.

10:52 PM  

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