Wander This World (1998)
Wander This World: a classic blues record from a genius young star
With the release of 1997’s “Lie To Me” an American blues-rock prodigy Jonny Lang showed the world a really clear sign of talent. But it seems like it was just a rehearsal, because next year Lang threw his rod extremely far: 1998’s “Wander This World” not only doubled the presence of a young guitar master on a blues scene with a great chart performance, but just blew everyone’s head off receiving a Grammy Award. And if that’s not counts as a serious piece of work, what will?
“He really sounds like a 30-year-old” – said music journalist Alex Henderson, praising how good and mature Jonny was on his third LP. Now considered a rock classic, an album begins with an intense blues-rock epic "Still Rainin”, delivering some slick riffs and furious guitar solos, while pumped-up piano chords and gospel-type backing vocals shoo any kind of rain away. Solid vocal performance on a ballad "Second Guessing" leads us to a rhythmic head bobbing on "I Am", a song co-written with Prince himself. Of course, one of the strongest highlights on LP is a title track. "Wander This World" contains Lang’s most emotional lyrics ever, while guitar work and overall song writing appear just outstanding. Beyond-his-years type of delight continues on "Walking Away", a powerful yet soulful image of a teenager love story. Overall, almost all of track lists feels right and suited for a young voice.
An inspiring message and excellent song performances could be on of the reasons this album’s narration to this day works so perfectly. A record so fresh and unique taps easily into a Rock and Roll hall of fame, while placing its creator atop contemporary music. Mixed with some Motown funk, gospel and soul, this Jonny Lang album achieved some tremendous results. Packed with a top-notch sound mixing, extraordinary guitar work and groovy arrangements “Wander This World” appears as a great end of blues-driven music century, made by a 17-year-old. Only one thing could be even better: seeing this young one’s live concert back in the end of the 90’s.