Turn Around (2006)
Turn Around: Jonny Lang’s most personal record yet
Full decade passed since an America’s greatest blues wonder child released his first record. A 15-year-oldJonny Lang couldn’t even think of the type of life he would have: instant attention from critics and media, various awards and nominations, platinum albums and all kinds of record breaking in modern music. A high school-aged teen with guitar chops of Stevie Ray Vaughan and the voice of a young Robert Palmer had everything he could’ve dreamt of. Like with much sudden success’s Lang slowly started losing himself and turned to alcoholism and substance abuse, a theme, which was previously discussed on his fourth full-length “Long Time Coming”. Now, 25-year-old Jonny finds peace at Christian church and records a purely gospel album “Turn Around”: not really that helpful of a step from commercial point of view in 2006, but truly important in terms of personal growth.
On this LP musician collaborates with a song-writing duo Drew and Shannon, known for Christian undertone of their work. A record kicks off with some confused funky production in "Bump in the Road", leading us to a second song "One Person at a Time", which is trying to din a piece of traditional values to one’s head. Yeah, from the very start it’s clear that this album is all over the place production wise, with a one everlasting component: The Jonny Lang Thankful Choir. Lang’s voice nonetheless is at its best; however his marvelous guitar work is shamelessly non-existent, buried under the chunk of prosperous gospel arrangements. Blues fans might be disappointed to a certain extent: this is not what you can expect from a Jonny Lang album. Yet, a record features some of Lang’s strongest and emotional songwriting.
Tracks like “On My Feet Again” or "That Great Day" could’ve worked better at the church, rather than on a rock concert, but after all, sticking to a formula and a lack of creative growth are tremendously popular nowadays. And despite the absence of Jonny’s main instrument, this album manages to actually win a Grammy Award, for the first time in prodigy's career.