Fuel for the Fire
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, gmclife.com
When it comes to the blues, no one from the current class is as beloved as Jonny Lang, thanks to his feverish licks, soulful vocals and faith-fueled lyrics (in spite of standing atop the mainstream scene). And speaking of finding fans across all faith lines, alternative rockers Day of Fire have a unique ability to branch out thanks to frontman Josh Brown previously serving as frontman for Island/Def Jam act Full Devil Jacket, and subsequently touring with Creed and Nickelback. gmclife.com recently sat down to chat separately with both of these compelling artists.
Lang chats Hendrix and gospel
"My relationship with God is the biggest motivator [for the gospel stylings] on Turning Around," Lang tells gmclife.com. "I just really had the urge to make a record that was a little more specifically about how grateful to God I am for my life and that's how that record came about. I didn't really try for it to be known as a gospel record, but with the lyrics, it ended up getting notoriety and even got a GRAMMY, which was very cool."
Though it remains to be seen if Lang will also go down as a gospel great, he did recently get the chance to collaborate with one of the scene's most respected players, Phil Keaggy. The two six-string strummers tore the house down at 2009's Gospel Music Association Week in Nashville, to which Lang is still in awe. "Dude, he is such a nice guy and just a beast on guitar," the 29-year-old says of the living legend. "It was great to be able to play with him and I remember thinking 'I'm just gonna keep it simple here and let the master take it away' and he was absolutely amazing."
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In other collaborative news, Lang is also hitting the road this spring with several other heavyweights, including Joe Satriani, Aerosmith's Brad Whitford, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and many more on the Experience Hendrix Tour. And as the moniker implies, the entire outing will tip its hat to Jimi Hendrix, who unquestionably had significant influence on the playing styles of all of the above.
"The biggest thing I draw from him is just his sense of melody and his approach is so much different than a lot of guitarists," Lang reasons. "I obviously didn't know him, but it seems to me like he approached it from a melodic side rather than just trying to play fast riffs. Aside from being a great virtuoso, he was a genius musically. You hear a lot of innovation in his melodies, especially for that time, and in the overall structure of his songs."
A fresh Fire
"I learned many lessons with Full Devil Jacket, the biggest one being living a life consumed by drug addiction really stinks," Brown reveals. "I learned that peace cannot be found in fame, money, or drugs. True peace only comes from getting your life right with the Messiah."
While Losing All certainly alludes to those themes on several occasions, the group paints with broad brush strokes to address the various struggles its audience may be facing. Add in a soundtrack of burly bass, grinding guitars and decadent drums cut live in the studio, and it's likely to connect with the masses.
"The songs cover everything from break-ups, heartache, drug addiction and death, to faith, love and hope; the real life, the ups and downs," adds Brown. "Razor and Tie has been like a much-needed shot of adrenaline to the Day of Fire team. They understand what we do and how to get it to the listener and they have a very experienced staff and we feel honored to work with them. We're also excited to get this music out to the general market which is where it has always needed to be."
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About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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