Wander This World is the third studio album by American blues guitarist Jonny Lang, released in 1998, when he was 17. The album was recorded at Seedy Underbelly Studios and Oarfin Studios in Minneapolis and the Sound Kitchen in Nashville. This album produced Lang's first Grammy nomination. The album contains a mix of genres; some tracks are blues, while others are Southern-style soul, funk, or rock with blues feeling. "Angel of Mercy" and Luther Allison's "Cherry Red Wine" are twelve-bar blues, "Walking Away" and "Second Guessing" are similar to 1960s Memphis soul, and "The Levee" and "Still Rainin'" are more rock orientated. Reviewer Alex Henderson commented on how mature the 17-year-old Lang sounded, saying the album often sounded like it could be the work of a 30 year old
When reviewers heard teen-aged Jonny Lang's debut album of 1997, Lie to Me, many of them commented on how mature the blues singer/guitarist sounded for his age. Similarly, Lang's second album, Wander This World, often sounds like it could have been the work of a man of 30. With David Z. (known for his work with Prince) producing, the Midwesterner delivers an exciting sophomore effort that has as much to do with soul, funk, and rock as it does with actual blues. Far from a purist, Lang takes an approach that is best described as Albert Collins, B.B. King, and Luther Allison by way of Otis Redding, Stax Records, and Eric Clapton. While "Angel of Mercy" and the moody "Cherry Red Wine" demonstrate his mastery of the 12-bar format, most of the other selections aren't actual 12-bar blues, but rather Southern-style soul, funk, or rock with a wealth of blues feeling. Lovers of 1960s Memphis soul should appreciate "Walking Away" and "Second Guessing," while "The Levee" and "Still Rainin'" have more of a rock orientation. The haunting title song finds Lang singing a little too convincingly about loneliness -- even though Lang himself didn't actually write the lyrics -- hearing an adolescent sounding so world-weary and isolated is rather disconcerting. There's nothing even remotely bubblegum about this excellent CD, which proves that Lang's supporters had every right to be enthusiastic. © Alex Henderson © 2012 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/wander-this-world-mw0000042723
"Wander This World" is not strictly a blues CD. "Still Rainin'"and "Cherry Red Wine" are great blues tracks. Some critics have complained about the album being too mainstream and "poppy". One reviewer said that the album mainly "consists of soft rock, pop, and soul ballads, sometimes having the feel of a typical Eric Clapton mainstream offering, other times reminicent of the Michael Jackson style". Don't let this description put you off. Alex Henderson of allmusic.com says that "There's nothing even remotely bubblegum about this excellent CD". Jonny was 17 when he recorded this album and was then a talent way beyond his years. The album may not be an all blues album, but it's full of soul and funk, and the rock based tracks are all good. Jonny's guitar playing and vocals are really great. It's certainly a diverse album but it's not a "pop" or "soft rock" album and definitely not like some of the AOR commercial "radio friendly" garbage churned out in the late '90's. The album is underrated and is a great listen. Listen to Kid Jonny Lang & the Big Bang's "Smokin'" album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 140 Mb]
TRACKS / COMPOSERS
1 Still Rainin'(Bruce McCabe) 4:49
2 Second Guessing (David Z./McCabe) 5:10
3 I Am (Prince/Z/Levi Seacer, Jr.) 5:04
4 Breakin' Me (Lang/Kevin Bowe) 4:32
5 Wander This World (Paul Diethelm/McCabe) 4:49
6 Walking Away (Lang/Jerry Lynn Williams) 4:14
7 The Levee (Bowe/Lang) 3:41
8 Angel of Mercy (McCabe/Michael Henderson) 4:30
9 Right Back (Williams/Danny Kortchmar) 3:59
10 Leaving to Stay (Bowe) 4:35
11 Before You Hit the Ground (Bowe/Lang) 3:55
12 Cherry Red Wine (Luther Allison) 3:31
13 If This is Love (Joe Louis Walker) 3:01 *
* Not listed on album sleeve
Jonny Lang - Guitar, Vocals
Steve Cropper - Guitars
Kevin Bowe - Guitar on "The Levee"
Tommy Burroughs - Acoustic Guitar on "Walking Away": Background Vocals on "Right Back"
Jack Holder - Guitars, Keyboards
Bruce McCabe, Ricky Peterson - Keyboards
David Smith - Bass
Paul Diethelm - Dobro on "Wander This World"
Richie Hayward - Drums
Eric Leeds - Saxophone on "I Am"
Jimmy Davis - Background Vocals on "Right Back"
Modern blues in the '90s had a weird phenomenon of teenage blues guitarists rocketing to popularity with their first album. The entire trend culminated with Jonny Lang, a guitarist from Fargo, ND, who released his solo debut album, Lie to Me, when he was 15. At the age of 12, he had attended a show by the Bad Medicine Blues Band and began playing with the group. Several months later he became the leader, and the newly renamed Kid Jonny Lang & the Big Bang relocated from Fargo to Minneapolis and released their debut album, Smokin', in 1995. The LP became a regional hit, leading to a major-label bidding war and culminating in Lang's signing to A&M Records in 1996. Early in 1997, his major-label debut, Lie to Me, was released to mixed reviews; the stronger effort Wander This World followed late the next year. Lang's next release, Long Time Coming, arrived in 2003 and garnered often withering critiques for its turn toward over-produced hard rock mixed with sometimes heavy-handed religiosity; 2006's gospel-informed Turn Around was more favorably received. Live at the Ryman was issued by Concord Records in 2010. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine © 2012 Rovi Corp | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/jonny-lang-mn0000268700
Jonny Lang (born Jon Gordon Langseth, Jr., January 29, 1981) is a Grammy Award-winning American blues, gospel, and rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. Lang's music is notable for both his unusual voice, which has been compared to that of a 40-year-old blues veteran, and for his guitar solos. His solo patterns have especially been noted for his frequent use of wide vibratos. Jonny Lang was born in Fargo, North Dakota, United States. He started playing the guitar at the age of twelve, after his father took him to see the Bad Medicine Blues Band, one of the few blues bands in Fargo. Lang soon started taking guitar lessons from Ted Larsen, the band's guitar player. Several months after Lang began, he joined the band, which was then renamed Kid Jonny Lang & The Big Bang. The band moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and independently released the album Smokin' when Lang was fourteen. Lang was signed to A&M Records in 1996. He released the critically acclaimed multi-platinum Lie to Me on January 28, 1997. The next album, Wander this World, was released on October 20, 1998 and earned a Grammy nomination. This was followed by the more soulful Long Time Coming on October 14, 2003. Lang also made a cover of Edgar Winter's "Dying to Live". Lang's 2006 album, the gospel influenced Turn Around, won him his first Grammy Award. In more than ten years on the road, Lang has toured with the Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Blues Traveler, Jeff Beck and Sting. In 1999, he was invited to play for a White House audience including President and Mrs. Clinton. Lang also makes a cameo appearance in the film Blues Brothers 2000 as a janitor. In 2004, Eric Clapton asked Lang to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival to raise money for the Crossroads Centre Antigua. Lang also appears regularly as a part of the Experience Hendrix Tour along with many other well-known guitarists to pay tribute the deceased guitar legend. From 1993 to 1996, Lang's backing band was The Big Bang. This group consisted of three founding members of the Bad Medicine Blues Band: Ted "Lightnin' Boy" Larsen on guitar, his brother Michael Rey Larsen on drums, and Jeff Hayenga on bass. Keyboardist Bruce McCabe joined The Big Bang in 1995 after Lang and this young band from Fargo impressed him with their set opening for McCabe's band at the time, The Hoopsnakes. From 1996 to 2004, Lang's backing band included Paul Diethelm on guitar, Bruce McCabe on keyboards, Doug Nelson on bass and Billy Thommes on drums. Also appearing on keyboards during 2003 and 2004 was Donnie La Marca, filling in for McCabe during his break from touring. Nelson was killed in a traffic accident in 2000 and was replaced by Billy Franze. Franze was in turn replaced by Jim Anton in 2003. Saxophone player David Eiland was added in 2000, providing Lang with a foil for extended instrumental jams. In 2005, Lang replaced the entire lineup, except for Anton, and embarked on an acoustic tour. He performed with Wendy Alane Wright at the 2000 pre-Grammy party. Guitarist Reeve Carney was the band's opening act for several shows in 2005, as well as for the 2006 and 2007 tours. The new band also includes organist and Houston, Texas native Charles Jones, drummer Barry Alexander, and organist Bill Brown from Minneapolis. The current band line up includes: Barry Alexander from Minneapolis, MN on drums, James Anton from Minneapolis, MN on bass, Akil Thompson from Nashville, TN on guitar, Dwan Hill from Nashville, TN on keys, and Missi Hale from Los Angeles, CA on background vocals. Lang married his long-time girlfriend, Haylie Johnson, on June 8, 2001. Jonny and his wife share the same birthday, although she is one year older. They have three children: twin sons and daughter, Raimy Lee and Saylor Monroe, born November 2007, and a daughter, Rennix Belle, born August 2010. They live in Los Angeles, California. Lang has two older sisters, Stephanie and Heidi Jo. He also has one younger sister, Jessica ("Jesse"), who was a contestant on season 8 of American Idol. Actress Ashley Johnson (Growing Pains, What Women Want) is Lang's sister-in-law.