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There may not be a more soulful musician on the planet today than guitar phenom JONNY LANG.  Since he picked up a guitar at age 12, he has released 8 studio albums, sold millions of records, and won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Gospel Performance, “I Believe”.   His signature brand of blues infused rock is fueled by the hollow sound of his Fender Telecaster Thinline powered by a set of incredible Fender 65’ Delux Reverb amps.  With over 20 years of incredible music under his belt, JONNY LANG has withstood the test of time and captivated the masses with a unique sound that transcends time and space.

Opening Wednesday’s show at the Belly-Up Tavern in Solana Beach, CA was world-class guitarist, singer, and songwriter ZANE CARNEY.  This guy killed his set with a passion seemingly unmatched in live performance today.  Not only were Zane’s guitar skills off the charts (It’s easy to see why JONNY LANG chose him as his rhythm guitarist), his vocals were simply amazing.  His bluesy tone reminded me of early NEIL YOUNG fused with guitar work that took me back 40 years in time to legends like DJANGO REINHARDT and WES MONTGOMERY.  ZANE CARNEY’S star IS on the rise and someone to keep an eye on in the upcoming years.  Truly amazing talent.

Now on to the evenings headliner, JONNY LANG.  It was now standing room only as he hit the stage, opening his set with “Don’t Stop for Anything” off of 2006 release, Turn Around.   Lang’s guitar mastery was immediately showcased as he took center stage, his body silhouetted against bright lights and a simple stage setup.  The power radiating from his voice sent chills throughout the audience and brought the sold-out crowd to their feet.  Coupled with his signature guitar work, there was no doubt in my mind that this was going to be an incredible night of blues, gospel, and rock’n’roll at North County’s premier concert venue, The Belly-Up Tavern.

Over the next hour and a half, fans of all ages rocked out to 12 of JONNY LANG’s classic tracks including “Signs”, “Rack Em’ Up”, and one of my favorite songs off the 1998’s Wander This World, “Angel of Mercy”.  Jonny’s guitar solo in this song so reminds me early Buddy Guy (one of Jonny’s of core influences).  He wrapped up the night with a 3-song encore including “Bring Me Back Home”, “40 Days and 40 Nights (A Muddy Waters cover), and the song that started Jonny on his way to stardom at age 15, “Lie to Me”.  Not a better song to wrap-up a truly incredible live music in my opinion (and believe many in attendance would second).   I would be remiss not to mention that JONNY LANG’S supporting band, including James Anton on Bass, Barry Alexander on Drums, Tyrus Sass on Keyboards, and Zane Carney on Rhythm Guitar, were simply in a league of their own.  You could tell they really enjoyed performing with Jonny on stage, and they had a genuine chemistry that elevated everyone’s game that evening.  Well done.

Walking into this show, I was one of what seemed like a handful of people who had never saw JONNY LANG perform live.  Having listened to nearly every song he has ever released, my question going in was whether he would be able to translate these amazing studio tracks into a killer live performance (a skill that many artists just can’t pull off).  Fast-forward 2 hours later, and I can honestly say that JONNY LANG is in-fact the real-deal.  At 36 years of age, this guy plays with a reckless abandon that most musicians in simply cannot pull off.  His passion for his fans and love of music infects everyone he encounters, and this makes for a truly magical evening of live music with one of the best guitarists on the planet today.  If you love amazing vocals, mind-blowing guitar work, and songs that speak to one’s soul, spend a few bucks and check out one of Jonny’s shows.  It will probably be the best show you see all year.

Stay Frosty and Rock On!



Don't Stop (For Anything)


A Quitter Never Wins (Tinsley Ellis cover)


Rack 'Em Up

Red Light

Last Man Standing

Living for the City (Stevie Wonder cover)

Angel of Mercy



Bring Me Back Home

40 Days and 40 Nights (Muddy Waters cover)

Lie to Me





Matthew Belter

Executive Editor - Long Beach

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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