Jonny Lang "Live by Request" – you decide the sets
Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.Grammy-winning singer-guitarist Jonny Lang hits the Vilar Performing Arts Center stage next Thursday, and what he performs is in the hands of the audience. Got a favorite Jonny Lang song you’ve been dying to hear him perform live? Let him know and chances are good he’ll play it for you. The tour is called “Live by Request,” and each night’s set list will be created from the requests that fans send in to his website, http://www.jonnylang.com. Since Lang’s body of work covers so many musical genres from blues to gospel, R&B, soul, funk and rock, you never know what to expect at his concerts. This “Live by Request” format is a great concept that allow fans in each city to tell Lang what they are most interested in hearing.This tour is a follow-up to Lang’s April release of his first-ever live recording, “Live at the Ryman.” Lang said the Ryman is “one of those magical places where you just can’t help but be inspired. I think a lot of that magic and inspiration makes its way onto this recording. It’s a collection of some of the best songs from our studio recordings, only more energized, thanks to a great group of musicians and a very receptive live audience.”Lang started playing the guitar at the age of 12 and released his first studio album at 15. He recorded the critically acclaimed multi-platinum “Lie to Me” at 16, and the next year earned his first Grammy nomination for “Wander this World.” In 2006, his gospel-influenced “Turn Around” won Lang his first Grammy Award. Since the beginning of his career audiences have been astounded by Lang’s voice. He sounds like a 40-year-old blues veteran, containing a harshness tempered by a fine falsetto and a voice that portrays the depth of years of experience.But the voice is only half of the equation. His scorching, electrifying guitar solos display a prodigious natural talent, talent honed by years of practice and playing, that completes the package. His expertise quickly caught on with some of the best in the business and he has toured with the Rolling Stones, Buddy Guy, Aerosmith, B.B. King, Blues Traveler, Jeff Beck and Sting. In 2004, Eric Clapton invited Lang to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival.This is Lang’s third appearance at the Vilar Performing Arts Center and each time he has left audiences wanting more. So I hope you will take this opportunity to share an evening with this incredibly talented young man. And by all means, go online and request your favorite songs.