Live at the RymanJONNY LANG

Live at the Ryman

[Concord Records]

Since Jonny Lang’s been absent from the recording studio since 2006, a cynic might assume that this live package (recorded in the summer of 2008 at Nashville’s famous Ryman Auditorium) exists merely to keep the former blues prodigy’s name alive. The thing about Lang, though, is that the two talents that made him famous—the shockingly mature growl and guitar work—only ran so far on his proper albums before choking on a leash. They’re allowed to roam free here, and Lang obliges by panting his way through the night’s first tune (“One Person at a Time”) and extending “Red Light” toward the 11-minute mark because … well, why the heck not? Incorporated into a set list that’s heavy on born-again themes, the showmanship is intense enough to either magnify the religious angle or minimize it, depending on what floats your spiritual boat.

–David Styburski

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