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Turn Around
     

Turn Around

3.7 13
by Jonny Lang
 
Ever since he burst onto the rock scene in his mid-teens, Jonny Lang has been able to let his guitar do the talking. That six-string makes plenty of noise on Turn Around, but for the first time, Lang makes just as much of a mark with his voice -- and, perhaps more important, the words he delivers. Turn Around is vividly colored by Lang's long-entrenched

Overview

Ever since he burst onto the rock scene in his mid-teens, Jonny Lang has been able to let his guitar do the talking. That six-string makes plenty of noise on Turn Around, but for the first time, Lang makes just as much of a mark with his voice -- and, perhaps more important, the words he delivers. Turn Around is vividly colored by Lang's long-entrenched but seldom articulated spiritual side, an inclination that manifests itself in ways both obvious (the gospel choir that lifts "It's Not Over") and subtle (the quietly mystical bent that wafts from the jazzy "My Love Remains"). Fans of Lang's no-holds-barred riffing will still find plenty to appreciate here -- he wails with funked-up urgency on "Bump in the Road" and swings with soulful grace throughout the love-thy-neighbor screed "One Person at a Time." What's more enticing, however, is how Lang's decision to let down his spiritual guard is mirrored in the relaxing of his stylistic restraints. You can hear that in the rustic purity of the country licks that drive "On That Great Day," a storefront-church paean that features a guest spot from Buddy Miller, and the raw Delta-isms of the ragged-but-right title track, as well as in the unabashedly sentimental ballad "Anything's Possible." On occasion, Lang's insistence on delivering his message becomes overwhelming, but his forays onto the pulpit are tempered with enough sonic power to make even nonbelievers groove along empathetically.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Thom Jurek
On 2003's Long Time Coming, Jonny Lang made the first turn from his rap as an itinerant blues-rocker to being a spiritually inspired rock and pop songwriter. Producer Marti Frederiksen took Lang's tunes and glossed them to the breaking point, leaving the album an unfocused gobbledygook set of songs that had no center. Three years later, Lang returns with Turn Around. And the title does not refer to him turning back to his blues guitar slinger roots. Instead, the title refers to the biblical term that is the definition of the word "repent." (No mistake.) Lang's overt spirituality comes ringing through the mix created by Drew Ramsey Lang and Shannon Sanders. Turn Around is funkier, dressed in contemporary gospel, gritty rock and yes, the blues. Lang's still got a way to go as a songwriter, but the material here is infinitely better than it was on his last outing. The gospel underpinnings help because his "the Jonny Lang Thankful Choir" is no less than 13 voices strong. Unfortunately, the "anthem" on this record, "One Person at a Time," is just plain corny, talking about wishing for triple-platinum success, but if it "only reaches one set of ears/I will have fulfilled my purpose here...." C'mon. Nice sentiment, but as a song it's just plain lousy. Tracks like "Thankful," which utilizes the choir very effectively and employs duet vocalist Michael McDonald, is startlingly good. Another track that works well is "My Love Remains," which takes its opening riff from a very big radio hit of the '90s, and then inverts it. The track's real surprise is in Lang's falsetto vocal performance, which reveals a new depth for him as a singer. "Don't Stop for Anything," proves that Lang should just give up trying to be a hard rocker; he simply can't pull it off. Much better are his attempts at gritty soul, such as on "Anything's Possible (Don't Let 'Em)," which once again has dumb lyrics but as a singer's tune is a delight. It's as if he needs to prove to someone -- perhaps only to himself -- that he's arrived as a musician. The funky gospel and soul of "On My Feet Again" blends all of his talents as a singer, guitarist, and songwriter -- with killer horns and choir in the pocket -- and offers a real view of what this man is capable of. His acoustic numbers, such as "That Great Day" with mandolins, steel guitars, and a country gospel flavor are also noteworthy. Lyrically, he's singing from the heart, not his resentments on these tunes; he has nothing to prove to anybody anymore. It should also be noted that A&M is to be applauded for sticking by him with such a bold move. Ultimately, Turn Around is a great leap from Long Time Coming, and is an exciting if somewhat flawed hint at what is on the horizon as Lang develops further, becoming more confident in his role as a veteran instead of a boy wonder.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/19/2006
Label:
A&M
UPC:
0602517033979
catalogNumber:
000729202
Rank:
12371

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jonny Lang   Primary Artist,Guitar,Piano,Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Sam Bush   Mandolin
Michael McDonald   Piano,Vocals
Jackie Wilson   Choir, Chorus
Javier Solís   Percussion
David Angell   Violin
Jim Anton   Bass,Bass Guitar
Michael Bland   Drums
David Davidson   Violin
Chris Dunn   Trombone
Barry Green   Trombone
Jim Horn   Baritone Saxophone
Anthony LaMarchina   Cello
Buddy Miller   Guitar
Doug Moffett   Tenor Saxophone
Kristin Wilkinson   Viola
Kim Keyes   Background Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Kenny Meeks   Hurdy-Gurdy
Matthew Emery Johnson   Choir, Chorus
Melinda Doolittle   Background Vocals
Shannon Sanders   Organ,Choir, Chorus
Quentin Ware   Trumpet
Sara Watkins   Fiddle
Jason Eskridge   Background Vocals
Aaron Pearce   Choir, Chorus,Wurlitzer
Cynthia Matthews   Choir, Chorus
Chimere Scott   Choir, Chorus
Ametria Dock   Choir, Chorus
Danelle Corbin   Choir, Chorus
Haylie Lang   Vocals
Rebecca Shocklee   Choir, Chorus
Drew Ramsey   Guitar
Ester Dean   Choir, Chorus

Technical Credits

Steven Curtis Chapman   Composer
David Davidson   String Arrangements
Matt Hyde   Engineer
Jonny Lang   Composer,Producer,Contributor
Kenny Meeks   Guitar Techician
Jon Alexander Graves   Engineer
Shannon Sanders   Composer,Producer
Quentin Ware   Horn Arrangements
Mark Linger   Engineer
Reeve Carney   Composer
Greg Fuqua   Pro-Tools
Drew Ramsey   Composer,Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Turn Around 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not his usual.  Don't know why.  I have Lie to Me and that Blows me Away.  Johnny I love you.  I can so relate to the Blues and Johnny does it  better than Clapton and a few others.  Stevie Ray was maybe tied with this guy.  Saw him Live too.  Excellent.   I like #5 on Lie to me Matchbox.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Maybe I've been gone somewhere but I had never heard of Jonny Lang before. I was sent an email with a couple of snippets of songs from this album. I bought it and was absolutely blown away. What an amazing talent. I love this album and every single song on it. However, I listen to Turn Around over and over again. When I found out Jonny has been around 10 yrs. already, I had to look for his other albums. They sound good too and I will find out because I'm buying them all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are considering this title because you love Jonny's previous releases... stop! This is nothing like what he built a name on. I think many of his existing fans may be very disappointed in his new direction, I know that I am. This is more church organ than guitar. I assume that he is looking for a new audience with this release and losing his existing one. Good luck.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Future generations will look back upon the music of Jonny Lang's youth and wish they could have been there. Like Sinatra. Like Aretha. Like Elvis. The first generation of discovery is always the most satisfying. p Fortunately for us, this album tells the story of a young man coming into his own during a time of rapid change aspiring to live a life that is truly worthy of his calling and purpose. p Along with being a timely encouragement for anyone trying to find their balance in this world, the album stretches Lang musically as well. p Listen to the lead guitar. dang. Bring it, Jonny Lang. p In particular, we enjoyed the following: p "One Person at a Time" - how do we influence our world? p "Turn Around" - beg, plead, love, challenge, or whatever it takes. The end result will be worth the effort. p "My Love Remains" - a partnership with Steven Curtis Chapman. p "Thankful" - a worthy remembrance as we approach the Holidays. p "Only a Man" and "Last Goodbye" - if they don't make ya cry, ya got no heart. p "That Great Day" - something to look forward to. p This album was worth the wait. Bring on the concert! p pD
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me sum it up short & sweet- Johnny Lang stretches his talent and shows a great side of himself.I remember Johnny playing as an unknown in Annandale,Minnesota and what a great growth and transition-It clearly shows that while the groove and the riffs are just as great as always,Johnny isn't afraid to color outside the lines-Congratulations to Johnny Lang and also to A&M Records-
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a jonny lang fan for years and with 'turn around' i have found a new respect for him as an artist and as a person. By listening to the first few tracks you immediately know that he's not just singing the lyrics, he means them whole-heartedly! He is still as talented as ever, showing growth now in his songwriting. What a bold move- old and new fans alike should take a good listen to the Truth that he is singing about! This album excites me- can't stop listening to it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a throw back to the Jesus Freak days, when there was some hope that Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, and Phil Keaggy were going to bring some original and significant rock to the Christian scene, and they did . . . to a degree. But there has been a long season of mediocrity. I've been able to assuage my hunger by listening to the old Clapton (when he was in Cream) from the early 70s and Bob Dylan's Christian albums, and I even find myself hearing Christian overtones in the newest Dylan album. I hope it isn't just wishful thinking. This album, "Turn Around," by Johnny Lang brings some real substance to Christian rock in the same way that Dylan's Christian albums did a while back. There is a bit of Joe Cocker in Lang, and some of the selections are a little less than outstanding, but there is a real spark here, some real drive, originality, and sincerity. Brothers and sisters need to pray for him: he may bring a voice worth listening to back to Christian rock.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As Jonny continues to grow as an artist and shift his musical style with each album, he continues to deliver an over the top experience with Turn Around. This album has gospel, funk, R&B, rock, his own unique style and so much more. His already dedicated fans along with so many others will continue to enjoy his originality and unbelievable talent. This is an amazing--must have album. I highly recommend it! Once you pop it in your CD player, you won't take it out!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is not the same Jonny Lang from "Smokin" and "Lie to Me". I have loved all his albums, until I bought this one, which is Jonny doing Gospel. The Blues are historically closely linked to Gospel, so I thought I would like it. Big mistake. Jonny sounds like Al Green or Stevie Wonder. And his virtuoso guitar is completely gone. This is not the same Jonny Lang. Personal evolution can be a wonderful thing. Look at Eric Clapton, another Blues great. He has evolved throughout his career from The Yardbirds, to Cream, to Derek & The Dominos to a solo career. His music changed, but the quality of the music remained top notch. Not impressed by this album. Would give it zero stars, if I could.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Long-time fans of Jonny Lang who are expecting hard hitting blues numbers will be disappointed in this latest release. The songs are soft and churchy. Perhaps it should be called his gospel album as it certainly does not fit in the genre he is for which he is known. Even though I am all for artists trying new things, going in different direction, searching out new areas, it is not the style I was lookng forward to hearing from Jonny Lang.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone arguing this album doesn't fit within the realm of blues is just plainly missing the point of blues. Plenty of blues songs reflect transition, and plenty of blues records have some kind of spiritual underpinning to them, although most of them seem to land squarely in the camp that leaves God "over there," as it were. Really, if one really wants to trace a logical growth arc, both musically and spiritually for Jonny Lang, than this album is the most logical one he could have done. And anyone feigning complete and utter surprise at his overt conversion should just knock it off right now, because the predications have been there from the start. Jonny Lang’s previous offerings had plenty of spiritual currency to them, and reflected not only a desire for more against the backdrop of human doubt (“Leaving to stay,”) internally, but a relationship predicated on the concept of a sovereign God (“The Goodbye Letter.”). That said, I do not consider this a “blues” album directly, but that delineation began with Long Time Coming, not this one. Let me say at the outset, that I love this album, especially from the standpoint of where Jonny has taken his ever-versatile vocal gifts. Lang manages to navigate between the grit and the whisper, and shows perhaps the greatest penchant for emotion since he started playing Irish Angel during his shows. The album is definitely an autobiographical one—one that carries Lang’s personal journey. While not passive in anyway lyrically, the album in no way indicts secular the listener into defensive mode, but rather conveys a sense of “would you perhaps try to see what I’m seeing?” Highlights for me personally: “The other side of the fence,” a very riffy song, even if one feels slightly cheated that Jonny doesn’t peel forth as much on his telecaster. “Don’t stop for Anything,” is a vamp, a bluesy/funky glottal fry that, besides putting the hair up on my arm, made me realize the Prodigal Son could get 21st century treatment without seeming pedestrian and cloying. And yes, his guitar shows up, too. I’ll avoid dragging this out with snippets of the whole thing, but I will predict that those inclined to believe Jonny Lang has entered some Dylan-esque “phase” by tinkering with Christianity will not have their predictions borne out. “That Great Day,” is not only blatantly traditional in its gospel construction, but carries certain revelatory clues about baptism and consecration that transcend the “I need a good phrase that rhymes here” lines that were never broached when Pete Seeger sang “Mary Don’t You Weep.” And maybe that will be perhaps the issue that re-defines his fan base. One cannot listen to any Jonny Lang song and come to the conclusion that conviction and belief are not present at every nuance—that is perhaps part of what made him who he is at a young an age that he is. And such is the case here. Not all of his fans will like Jonny’s neo-Apostolic emergence, but they will not need another album to arrive at this albums ultimate premise: “I’m Jonny Lang. I’ve been changed, and I mean it.”
Guest More than 1 year ago
jonny lang has been blesses with a special gift from god though his songs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago