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Jonny Lang to Take GED, Write with John Popper
by Gary Graff
Allstar Magazine, National
Mar 11th, 1998

By any measure, Jonny Lang has had a hell of a year: a platinum debut album; a special that airs on the Disney Channel almost as often as Mickey Mouse cartoons; a cameo in Blues Brothers 2000; and opening gigs for the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, and Blues Traveler. Who said it wasn't any fun being seventeen? So what's Lang going to do next? (He's already gone to Disney World.) For starters, the singer-guitarist plans to take his GED exam back home in Minneapolis after his headlining tour wraps up next week. Then he'll start work on the follow-up to Lie to Me, which he'll begin recording in late April after working with some songwriting collaborators including Blues Traveler frontman John Popper.

"We're just going to write songs and hang out," Lang says of Popper. "It'll be fun." As to what the next album will sound like, the mannish boy won't hazard a guess. He's certainly established his cachet in the blues-rock genre, but Lang firmly states, "I don't think I would ever in my entire life pigeonhole myself as one type of music."

The influence most likely to sneak into his music? Put your bets on R&B, since that was the first sound Lang took a cotton to, lapping up his mother's Motown collection with a particular affinity for Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. But, says Lang, he's of a mind set that anything is fair game. "I definitely have very strong influences that are derived from blues music,"he says. "I live it, and I love the history of it and have a lot of friends who are in the whole blues family kind of thing. But I would never walk around saying I'm a blues singer or I'm a blues guitar player, strictly. I've just improved generally, musically, just from playing with my great band. My sense of time and rhythm and things like that have gotten a lot better, I think. My songwriting's gotten a lot better. It's great because I've never tried to force any of that; I've just been fortunate to have people around me pushing me to do better."