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Album Review

Smokin' is a good electric blues album, but it's hard to divorce an assessment of it from the knowledge that singer/guitarist Jonny Lang was a mere 14 years old when he recorded it. Would one consider it such an achievement if the bandleader were twice that age? Probably not. Without Lang's precocity as a draw, the album is a competent work in a hidebound form. The guitar playing is fluid and professional in a style reminiscent of many other players, notably B.B. King. The singing is fine, but unremarkable. The backup band maintains a groove and gives Lang something to play off of. If you saw a band playing like this in a local club, you'd have a good time. And if you could tell that the guitar player was underage, you'd be far more impressed. But then, that's the point, isn't it?


Born: 29 January 1981 in Fargo, ND

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

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, North Dakota, 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...
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Smokin, Jonny Lang
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