Almanac Music: Jeff Lang at the Trinity Sessions

(Photo courtesy K. Andrew)

 

Jeff Lang is one of those players that needs to be seen live to truly appreciate his artistry.

 

Fast fingers, fast hands, brilliant touch and feel for the instrument, loops and pedals used to perfection.  He is capable of wringing the most unholy, brutal sounds from an acoustic guitar. Rolling Stone have described him as Australia’s best roots-music artisan.

 

Jeff Lang is back at the Trinity Sessions.  It will be a show with a difference as he is selling a book this time.  He is also coming off the enforced layoff, a tough situation for any touring musician.

 

Adelaide music royalty is in attendance. Blues legend Chris Finnen sits front and centre. I cross paths with harmonica player Dave Blight (of Khe Sanh and other Chisel hits fame) when returning from the gents. They shared the bill at a Trinity Sessions gig earlier in the year, a rollicking display of blues and boogie with an electric sitar thrown in for good measure.

 

(Photo courtesy G. Andrew)

 

Lang starts on the lap steel, then moves through some finger-picked and slide acoustic and on to the electric. All complemented by his light, soulful voice.

 

There are songs, book readings, a Q&A session (note: never hand over the microphone to the drunk woman!), and more songs.

 

If roots music can be described as songs that provide a glimpse into the culture, identity, and lived experience of the groups from which they originate, then Jeff Lang is a master at it. Lang likes to describe his genre as “disturbed folk”.  His songs can be dark, inhabited by nefarious characters. They are not autobiographical songs. He prefers imagining a scenario through a character’s eyes and then adding a touch of his own perspective.

 

Resplendent in burgundy double breast suit and flat cap, Lang looks as if he has walked straight out of one of his songs.  The sketchy geezer lurking in the dodgy pub. He can get stuff sorted for you. If he can’t, he knows a bloke who can. Just leave it with him.

 

He reels off a selection of ripping tunes. No real set list, just going by feel. Just a man and his instrument. His sound fills the room.

 

Interspersed are tales of cat’s ears and perfect hearing, terrible folk songs, banjo players, tall women, lucky jocks, magical recording sessions, ARIA awards and Tom Waits songs on Rage.

 

I want to run but my legs won’t stand

Fugitive ghost

Burnside

Running by the rock

Ravenswood

This city’s not your hometown anymore

The road is not your only friend (my personal favourite)

Goin’ out West (a Tom Waits cover as the encore)

 

There was more, but it’s too easy to get caught up within the music.

 

Jeff Lang is a guitar-wielding maestro.

 

 

To read more from Greg click HERE

 

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Dour opener and close-checking fullback. Peaked early.

Comments

  1. Good stuff Greg. Been to a few shows at the Wheaty and going to the Gov to see Josh Pyke in July which should be great. Have missed live music with Vampire Weekend the last international act we saw at the Forum in Melbourne.

    A Tom Waits cover is a mighty fine encore choice too!

  2. Thanks Mickey. We are just thankful to be able to get back to some live music.

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