FOR home-grown blues and roots luminary Jeff Lang, the key to success is passion.
Having inspired the likes of famed Australian performers John Butler and Xavier Rudd with his unique “disturbed folk” sound, Lang will make his return to Goulburn this weekend for a show not to miss.
First appearing at the inaugural Australian Blues Music Festival in 1997 as a performer and MC, Lang will appear top of the list this time around, performing as the headlining act on Saturday night.
Starting out in small country pubs and now booking spots playing at bigtime festivals such as the Byron Blues Festival and touring internationally, he told the Post Weekly that a great performance is a spiritual experience… a combined consciousness between performer and audience.
“There is no one gig that takes precedence over others... Whether it’s a room of 40 or a big marquee at a festival, they all have their own atmosphere.”
“It’s mysterious what happens when a great performance takes place,” he said on Friday.
His passion for his craft is evident through his discussions of music, performing and the road to success - one which he has paved towards critical acclaim and numerous awards, including 10 ARIA nominations and three wins.
First picking up a guitar at the age of 14, Lang forged a musical career unbeknownst to himself, while touring pubs and clubs around the country.
“It was a slow process… I had no internet and no mobiles. It was a lot more naïve and innocent.”
“I had no concerns other than having enough money for the next gig. It was carefree,” he said.
“I didn’t notice until people started asking me if they could buy my stuff. It wasn’t until after a year of people asking that I remember thinking ‘yeah, I could do this!’” For Lang, the process of creating, recording and performing music is intangible, a journey through something indescribable.
“No one knows where a great song comes from,” he said.
“It’s about following your dreams, getting seduced by music and falling in love with sound.
“I try to make something that I’d listen to if it wasn’t me, and records I would be interested in.”
“Blues isn’t a mainstream type of music; you need to do it with passion and let that be the centre of it.”
16 years and 15 albums later, Lang told the Post Weekly he was excited to return to Goulburn after so long.
“I’ve made quite a lot of albums since then,” he said.
Adopting a self described genre of “disturbed folk,” Lang mixes a variety of textures and sounds to create the music that has inspired the likes of John Butler.
“Seeing Jeff Lang was like being at church for three hours – a totally sacred event. He’s the man as far as I’m concerned,” Butler once said.
With a repertoire of 15 albums to choose from, including the recent ARIA award winner “Carried In Mind”, Lang prefers not to work with set lists and allows the energy of the audience to guide the performance.
“It’ll be a stripped back solo show, fly by the seat of your pants and see where the mood takes me.”
“I will perform a few songs from (Carried In Mind) amongst some hits and memories… the songs are fresh and have a different entity to the older material, they cast a different light.”
“The material is left up to where the spirit takes me on the night,” he said.
• Jeff Lang will perform at the Goulburn Workers Club on Saturday night. Tickets are $30.60 and are available from the Club or online at www.australianbluesfestival.com.au. Strictly over 18s only.