Lie To Me (1997)
Lie To Me: a first big attempt by a 16-year-old prodigy
Back in the 90’s there were a number of successful child stars. Remember Macaulay Culkin? Now imagine this type kid’s success, but shifted towards music. Being more precise, blues-rock. This is Jonny Lang. At the age of 14 he and his band “The Big Bang” tried to release an album called “Smokin”. It was clear, that someone wanted to use Jonny’s age and talent to earn some money – what a voice and guitar skills for a 14-year-old! However, that record was not even close when it comes to a decent critical acclaim. Blues really wasn’t in its best historical form, and its fans wished make this genre great again. Introducing a “child star” was a little bit discrediting – people wanted good songs, rather than some kind of surprise. But situation changed in 1997: fueled with several fine songwriters and a number of serious producers, Lang’s second album “Lie To Me” turned out to be a huge hit.
This time, Lang’s voice and guitar sounded more distinguished: kid wasn’t just copying his legendary influences. The youthfulness of his performances was justified and played along to create child’s now unique style. Tracks became commercially valued. Hooks and melodies were honed perfectly to chop young girl’s heart. Of course, two Lang’s co-writing credits seemed too playful, considering a number of non-writing adult performers on a contemporary scene 16-year-old really looked like a prodigy.
Slick guitar shops and riffs on title track “Lie To Me” create a banger opener for a record. Standard bluesy-soul ballad “Darker Side” caries traditions, while ironical number "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl" destroys them: lyrically Lang is not trying to be serious-minded at all, with music showcased in a very mature way. Overall, this could be the most self-aware record of all time from such a young heart. This is what a Jonny Lang album supposed to be, with truly professional approach showing how much potential kid had. And last but not least, it started a really glorious career with all of its attributes: money, fame and a dense concert schedule.