Guitar slinger Jonny Lang hit the Kent Stage Friday night with a blistering rendition of “Blow Up (The House).” Lang played a nice mix of rocking blues, traditional blues and even a little gospel was thrown in for good measure. Lang never slowed down except when he wanted to play a slow, steamy blues jam.
The 36 year old certainly showed off his chops on every song in the set. Although he’s been in the music business for twenty years, his style and tone would indicate that he’s been around for more than forty years.
Not only is his playing on point, but his voice is also very soulful and he pours everything he has into his playing and singing.
The sold-out Kent Stage audience gave Lang and his band a hearty round of applause after every song. This crowd knew that they were witnessing one of the best blues guitar players around.
His backing band consists of Corey Clement on guitar, Michael Hicks on keys, Barry Alexander on drums and Jimmy Anton on bass. Throughout the set, each band member got to show off their skills by playing an extended solo.
Lang played at least one song from each of his six studio albums including the title track from his upcoming release Signs, which is due out on September 8th.
Jonny also paid tribute to two of his major influences, Stevie Wonder and Muddy Waters as a lively “Living for the City” and a swampy, solo version of “Forty Days and Forty Nights” were played respectively.
Lang closed his show with his first hit “Lie To Me.” The song started out with him alone on stage with an acoustic guitar playing a different arrangement of the song. Halfway through the song, his band joined him on stage as he strapped on an electric guitar and they proceeded to tear up the rest of the song.
It was another incredible evening of live music at the historic Kent Stage.
Kent’s own bluesman, Ian Penter played an impressive set of blues covers and originals to warm up the crowd. His slide playing and picking style was reminiscent of Son House and his voice is a combination of Louis Armstrong and Howlin’ Wolf.
His version of “Traveling Riverside Blues” and “Spoonful” were highlights of his show and set the tone for a great night of blues. Check out this local musician next week during the Kent Blues Fest.