Monday Melody – Thankful

Okay, this weekend went by far too quickly!  I had a great time with friends on both days, and the weather in Maryland was sweet, but I need another day to get myself together!  Super thankful for the blessing of friendship.

Song/Album: “Thankful” by  Jonny Lang on the album Turn Around.

Why it made the cut:   Who can resist a head-bobber of a song about thankfulness, especially when channeled through the gravelly-voiced ear candy that is Jonny Lang, accompanied by the king of blue-eyed soul, Michael McDonald?  

The entire Turn Around album is a tour de force of gospel, soul, blues, R & B, and funk, well deserving of its Grammy award, but this song showcases the genius of Johnny as he trades verses with McDonald and places God in the center of this thanksgiving service.  

“That song basically just sums up how I feel these days,” says Jonny of “Thankful.”  “I really have a debt of gratitude to God for what he has done for me in my life and the ability to do what I love for a living.”

Jonny’s falsetto turns, riffs, and growls, combined with McDonald’s gruff yet endearing sound and the gospel choir’s heartfelt refrain, make Thankful a solid reason to celebrate God’s hand of protection in our lives.

Artist:  I first heard Jonny Lang on Israel Houghton‘s Alive in South Africa album and was hooked by the searing vocals from this Fargo, North Dakota, native.  With your eyes closed, you would imagine that his trademark blues-meister sound was that of an aged black man from the deep South!

To my surprise, I learned that this unassuming young man was a prodigious blues guitarist/vocalist who released his first major album, Lie To Me, at age 15 and was hailed by Time magazine as one of the most important artists to watch in the next millennium.  He received his first Grammy nomination at age 17 for his album, Wander this World and went on to win his first Grammy for Turn Around in 2007.

What really caught my attention, however, was Jonny Lang’s conversion story.  Having spent his teens and early twenties touring with artists far older than him, including the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith, and being exposed to the negative influences of the music industry, Jonny admits that he became an alcoholic with a serious drug problem.  A literal visitation by the Holy Spirit changed his life forever, and he has been unequivocal in letting the world know that that was how he was able to Turn Around.

Favorite lyrics:

I’ve been riding on this roller coaster ride
Round and round I’ve seen the up and down side
And I’m here to tell you that the secret of life 
Is being thankful, thankful

Sweet spot:   Perfect harmony at 1:58.  Bliss!

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