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“The only goal is to try to be a blessing with music,” said Lang, who became a regular churchgoer after marrying actress Haylie Johnson in 2001. “In that sense, it is spiritual for me.”
Recording “Fight for My Soul” on his own before licensing it to Concord Music Group (current label of Paul McCartney, Paul Simon and Booker T. Jones), he wasn’t concerned about radio airplay, as he had been with his previous studio albums. But there clearly is some radio fare, especially “Breakin’ In,” with its Maroon 5-like chorus. Producer/songwriter Sims, who wrote “Change the World” for Eric Clapton, knows about radio success.
There’s even a holiday-themed song, “Seasons,” near the end of the decidedly unseasonal “Fight for My Soul.”
“That was a song I did not want on this record. Why did I play that for Tommy?” Lang asked. “He heavily encouraged me to put that on the record. I’m glad that he did now. It was really what I was wanting to do with this record — to have songs with intricate arrangements and something I haven’t done. I was excited to finally feel the freedom to do that. I feel ‘Seasons’ in particular is an accomplishment for me, musically and creatively.”
Lang may sound tired — four kids in less than six years will do that — but clearly mature and more fulfilled.
“I feel like I’m less of a basket case. I’m more comfortable being myself and in my own skin,” he said. “That has affected me as a musician — playing live especially. I feel totally unhindered when I play these days. I’m very satisfied as a creative person. It’s good right now. Every day doing dad stuff is great to balance the rest of me out.”
But he has to be a breadwinner, too, so he averages 120 gigs a year. That will increase in the next 12 months, with a new project to promote.
Being on tour means he’ll get to play more golf to justify his handicap of 3, said Lang, who sits up late at night either watching the Golf Channel or playing one of those beat-up acoustic guitars in the garage.
On the road, he plays golf maybe four or five times a week. In fact, he’s hoping to squeeze in a round in the Twin Cities with Mike Larsen, drummer in his first band, the Big Bang.
“I’d play every day if I could,” Lang said. “I’m addicted to it.”
Twitter: @JonBream • 612-673-1719