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Jonny Lang Happy To Be "Mr. Sideman"

of the Oakland Press

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Jonny Lang has been wanting to record a concert album “for years,” but the North Dakota-born blues-rocker — who came on the scene as a 15-year-old wunderkind — finally achieved that goal with this year’s “Live at the Ryman.”

But, Lang says, he had to trick himself into it a bit.

“There’s a lot of pressure; you’re, like, hyper-focused, ‘Oh, we better do a good show tonight!’ ” Lang, 29, explains. “So being able to record a bunch of different shows takes that pressure off, and the Ryman show was the one we decided to go with because the room is absolutely incredible.”

Lang hopes to start working on a new studio album when he finishes touring this summer, but he’s been particularly busy as a guest, appearing on new albums by Cyndi Lauper and Lee Ritenour and upcoming releases from Santana and Eric Johnson. And last year he raised a few eyebrows by playing guitar on “Hey Baby” from the Jonas Brothers’ “Lines, Vines and Trying Times” album.

“Oh, man, that was a bit of a fluke,” Lang recalls with a laugh. “We were recording in Nashville and they were recording down the street, and a couple of the guys on my session were playing on their session. And I’m friends with their producer, John Fields. So I just went over to say hi to (Fields) and ended up playing guitar on one of their songs.

“Some people, like my manager, get worried that, ‘Hey, man, everybody’s going to see you as Mr. Sideman,’ but I don’t care. I just like to hang out and play music — with anybody.”

Jonny Lang performs Tuesday, July 13, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $32. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.

Web Site: www.royaloakmusictheatre.com

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