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“It seems like a disappointing scenario … the set up … where everything is really tightly rehearsed, so the definition of a good gig becomes merely one where nobody made any mistakes with the pre-arranged parts. To me that seems a little bit disappointing when you could have something (like) … a good gig could be where you could never have predicted where it would go,” Jeff Lang begins to tell us in explanation of his love of collaborations. “Obviously the potential is to go into self-indulgence or be boring or to crash and burn but no one really gets hurt, it’s just playing music, so I prefer to have the potential that it goes somewhere really dramatically exciting. So I always live in hope for that and playing with other people greatly increases the likelihood of that.”

Australian guitarist-songwriter-vocalist-producer, Jeff Lang has built a reputation for making startling music that is accomplished, intricate, gutsy, melodic and loaded with soul. Often taking unexpected turns, he has consistently inspired his audiences by creating a stylistically diverse catalog of over 25 albums.

We chat with acclaimed guitarist, singer songwriter and producer Jeff Lang, our Musician of the Month for May. In Jeff’s interview with AM editor Greg Phillips, we cover many aspects of his career including his love of collaboration, he chats about some of his favourite guitars and tells us there’s a new duos album called More Life due out in a few months featuring John Butler, Liz Stringer, Don Walker and many more. Thanks to Jason Rosewarne for the photos and video assistance.


As legions of journalists have written, Jeff is not one to be easily pegged, though in a general sense it’s fair to say he largely trades in roots-oriented rock; wider reaching in collaborations with the likes of roving guitar anthropologist Bob Brozman, American blues-rocker Chris Whitley, India’s desert-dwellers Maru Tarang and world music virtuosos Bobby Singh and Mamadou Diabate. Jeff’s work with the latter won the 2010 ARIA (Australia’s Grammy) for Best World Music Album, while he and Brozman took one home for Best Blues and Roots Music Album in 2002. Jeff received that same award on his own in 2012.

Jeff has mischievously called his music ‘Disturbed Folk.’ One writer referred to him as a “quiet achiever.” But the overall impression one has from observing Jeff’s lengthy career is that of a driven man who keeps his head down, playing and recording music as if his very life depends on it.

Outside of his homeland, Jeff has toured the UK, Europe, Japan, India, China, South Africa, New Zealand and Canada as well as concentrated work in the U.S., where he has played upwards of 300 shows, living there for 6 months at a time. He has appeared on prestigious American radio programs A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage and Acoustic Café.

Jeff has shared stages with Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Richard Thompson, Bonnie Raitt, Ani Di Franco, Chris Whitley, Albert Collins, Loudon Wainwright III, Greg Brown, John Butler, AR Rahman and Bob Geldolf, among many others.

Jeff has delivered show-stopping performances at festivals all across the globe: The Dublin Blues Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Quebec City Music Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Winterhawk Bluegrass Festival, Fuji Rock, Glastonbury, Echo Park China, Ottawa BluesFest as well as on his home turf at Port Fairy, Woodford, Bluesfest Byron Bay and Womadelaide.

Jeff Lang’s unique musical vision easily finds a home in myriad settings, from large festival stages to the intimate, long-running Ann Arbor, Michigan club The Ark to the Sydney Opera House. Most importantly, Jeff Lang has achieved what is a rarity in the cluttered world of contemporary sounds: his own voice.





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