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Coming to the Keswick Theatre, Jonny Lang discusses past, present, future of the blues

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STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
bbingaman@21st-centurymedia.com
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Jonny Lang was lauded as a 16-year-old blues whiz kid when “Lie to Me” was released in 1997.

Now a 34-year-old family man — a father to four children all under age 8 — he’s landed five albums in the top 50 of the Billboard Album Chart; won a Grammy in 2006 in an unexpected category for a blues singer/guitarist — Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album; appeared in the movie “Blues Brothers 2000;” toured with “Experience Hendrix,” The Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, Jeff Beck, Sting and Blues Traveler; and is playing the Keswick Theatre July 19.
In a phone interview that took place after rain shortened a tour-downtime game of golf in Vail, Colo., Lang shared his thoughts on the late B.B. King, whom he also toured with at one point.
“B.B. King was huge for me. He’s as big an influence musically as anybody … and just one of the greatest singers of all time,” Lang said, adding that King is at the top of his personal list of greatest guitarists.
“The biggest part of his legacy is just how kind he was to people. He made everybody feel like (they) were the only person there (in conversations).”
Lang’s most recent album “Fight for My Soul,” which came out in 2013, added some pop luster to his sound. “It was six years between my last two albums. It’s definitely not going to be that long of a wait (next time). I’ve definitely been writing a lot of stuff, but haven’t been in the studio,” he said.
For his appearance in Glenside, he said he would “try to get all the best of everything” into a two-hour set list.
When asked about the spiritual nature of his lyrics, which began with 2003’s “Long Time Coming,” he said: “I enjoy coming from that place. My relationship with God, in my heart, it’s something that will always be present in stuff I write.”
Because he got into show business as a teenager, when asked if he’d do anything differently in his career if given the chance to do it over again, Lang said: “There’s a million things. I see a couple points in my life where I messed up big time.” He also said, however, that everything in the past — good and bad — has made him who he is today, and he seems at peace with that.
Lang said his children were on the road with him for a few weeks of this tour. “It was fun for them to go on the bus, and it’s like a big gym. The music part and being on stage — they think it’s OK,” he said, relieved that none of the kids wants to follow in his footsteps by playing in clubs at 13 years old.
Talking about the future of blues music, Lang said: “I think it’s something that will always be around. If it went dormant — which I don’t think it ever would — but even if it went dormant for a while, it’s too pure of a thing to just go away.”

IF YOU GO

What: Jonny Lang, with opener Ginger Coyle.
When: 7:30 p.m. July 19.
Where: Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside.
Tickets: $35-$45.
Info.: Call (215) 572-7650 or visit www.keswicktheatre.com.

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